10 January 2010

Review: THE SWAYING PILLARS, Elizabeth Ferrars

First published in Great Britain by Collins in 1968. My edition published in Large Print 2003 by Isis Publishing. ISBN 9-780753-167717, 253 pages.

"It was Cleo Grant who offered Helena Sebright the chance to go to Uyowa". Helena is to escort a seven year old travelling to stay with her British grandparents living in an African state. Helena jumps at the chance of all expenses paid overseas travel. She is fed up with her current secretarial job, and the 3 month governess style job in an exotic location sounds just the thing. Little does she know that the political situation in Uyowa is fragile, nor that Cleo Grant has her own agenda.

Shortly after their arrival in Uyowa, there is an attempt on the life of the country's dictator, and the servants of the little girl's grandparents are involved. In addition young Jean is kidnapped.

THE SWAYING PILLARS is really a novel of its time - the late 1960s, and it reminds me of the books I read back then by authors such as Dorothy Eden, Susan Howatch, and Victoria Holt.
Having said that, I was really unaware of the publication date of the book until I went to write this review. So I guess that is a pretty good idea of whether it has stood the test of time, isn't it?

I read THE SWAYING PILLARS because it is set in Africa, even if the country of Uyowa and its capital city of Tondolo are fictitious. It was on my list of books to read because of someone's recommendation. I imagine that its view of the perilous predicament of white people living in Africa, and their attitude to the native peoples, was also pretty typical of its day.

My rating 4.2

Elizabeth Ferrars (1907-1995) was a prolific writer whose first crime fiction novel was published in 1940, and her last novel was published postumously in 1996. Quite a number of her novels have been re-published in the large print market since her death.

I'm using this book as a contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books.

4 comments:

Dorte H said...

I have a handful of her books, but this one is not really my favourite. Perhaps because these old African plots can seem rather outdated today.

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks, as always, for this review. I've read a bit of Ferrars, but never this one. I'm intrigued, though, even if the plot is a product of its time....

Evan Lewis said...

Nice piece. Are you a fan of Wilbur Smith's many Africa books?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, I think I read ones written under E.X. Ferrars. But not this one.

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