On Newfound River (BCL1-PS American Literature)

On Newfound River (BCL1-PS American Literature) - Thomas Nelson Page [These notes were made in 1985:]. In Old Virginia, Bruce Landon, son of a proud landowner, meets and falls for Margaret Browne, daughter of a mysterious old man whose presence across the river in the Landon's old home infuriates Bruce's father. The plot is slight: the elder Landon makes a Dame-aux-Camellias-like visit to the unfortunate Margaret and sues her father for allowing his cattle to trespass. A runaway slave causes shenanigans, and Bruce, after defying his father, is shot - not fatally, of course - by the villain of the piece, one Pokeberry, who is also involved in the slave subplot. Pokeberry eventually gets his comeuppance in the river - the same river which has divided the brothers (oh yes, the elder Landon and Browne are brothers) for so many years, and the same river which has symbolized rebellion and freedom to the younger Landon ever since he slipped away to swim and fish as a boy. I find the prose flows quite well - this is easy enough reading, and if the characters are a little stiff, the feeling for the landscape is genuine. The plot's a bit silly - brothers living as neighbours for many years and never seeing each other? - but I didn't mind. The cover on this copy, by the way, is a rather attractive gold on dark blue design by Lee Thayer of Decorative Designers.