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The Old Priory > The Old Priory. Group Read 2018

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Aug 08, 2018 12:06AM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Here is the inaugural group read by our new moderator Tanya Mendonsa !
Sylvia would have so loved this, she always wanted Tanya to join Peggy and her and I as a moderator …

We did 'do' it some years ago, with Peggy leading , so if you don't mind spoilers you might like to cross reference . https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...


message 2: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments "the old priory " is a short read but an intense one, packed with richness of period detail and a spectrum of characters. the beginning is strongly reminiscent of something that has happened in some fairy tales and in quite a few folks tales.Isak Dinesin used it to great effect.


message 3: by Barbara (last edited Aug 08, 2018 12:04AM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Yes I found the opening very powerful too, Arthur Tresize is presented to us as a complex character, by no means a simple seaman , though he is not above patronage of brothels, about which has a certain fastidiousness , as indeed he does about inns etc. His fastidiousness extends to his masculinity as we shall see. He might not have much by by way of worldly goods or prospects but he does have a strong sense of self worth.

The offer made to him by the mysterious old lady is an amazing one, the acceptance of which is the is the basis for the entire book. As Tanya says, it has an almost semi mystical and folkloric quality ...


message 4: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments In the beginning of the book, recounted by Arthur Tresize, everything happens by accident - the fourth son of a poor Devon farmer, he is a lover of the land, forced to become a sailor, but his ship lands at Yarmouth instead of Bristol. He walks out of town
( unlike most sailors ) to find a quieter inn, and is spied by an old woman in a coach.
He doesn't know this yet, but it is a simple physical attribute that marks him out to the old crone, who follows him to the inn he has found and propositions him, as in a fairytale, to earn 200 pounds to spend four days( all he can spare before he has to rejoin his ship ) at a place she will take him to.
Of course, he accepts, but buries half the money he has been promised and given, in the forest, where he waits for the crone.
She takes him, at night, and in a roundabout way ( this, too, has a bearing on the end of the book ! ) to a beautiful castle on a hill, where he is taken to a room where an exquisite beauty waits for him..." The dark haired enchantress who might, or might not have planned, my death. "


message 5: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments I shall be ‘off air’ for ten days or so, on holiday, but with you in spirit.


Donna | 143 comments I completed re-reading "The Old Priory" today, surprised by how much of the story I'd forgotten in less than four years. For me, everything old (books, movies, TV shows, most jokes) that I've read, viewed, or heard before is new again.

I agree with you, Tanya and Barbara, that the beginning is like a fairy tale. It has a strong, handsome princelike hero; a damsel in distress; and a witchy hag. It entails dark travels via circuitous routes, danger to our hero, and a "pot of gold."

As usual, NL subtly weaves historical events and their impact on people's lives throughout the narrative. In fact, she allows us to see the history of an era in context through the eyes of those who lived through it rather than from the vantage of those who initiated events by their deeds and actions. I admire this aspect of her work above all others.


message 7: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments I agree with Donna that it is the little details which are so telling- and touching !
It becomes clear later on that Arthur Tresize had been brought to the castle ( and " bought " ) because the rich chestnut colour of his hair was the same as the dark haired beauty's recently deceased husband's. he has, hopefully, to make her pregnant, so that she can retain the title and the money.
But then, NL makes a big boo boo - the only one, to my knowledge, that she's ever made. Arthur is only with the lady for 4 nights, but she says, on the last night, that, " for two days, it has not been with me as it should..." and that she is sure that she has conceived.
As far as I know, a woman's fertile period is in the middle of her cycle, not at the end !
Anyway, it is a device to let the reader know that she is pregnant, as Arthur never sees her again, and her son is an important thread throughout the novel.
NL airily explains the lady's conviction of her conception as " one always knows, with a lover "...this might or might not be true, but not when it's contrary to biology !
The dark beauty refuses to flee with Arthur and marry him because she clings desperately to her status. She vows to love him forever but one wonders....she has been so reckless and strong minded so far - is she aware of her devoted servant's ruthlessness where she is concerned ? She certainly has no fear that Arthur will ever betray her - does she know that her maid has poisoned the little cakes she gives to Arthur as a goodbye present ?
But Arthur is lucky once again - he escapes with a fortune, but also his life. He is kindhearted, as he continues to be, so he feeds the dog who has " adopted " him - the dog it was who died.
Yes, Arthur is kindhearted, but he also has his own breed of ruthlessness, as we shall also see later !


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Good job spotting one of NL's few errors, Tanya. I wanted to mention the issue of inheritance laws, which were so unfair for so many years. They may still be in some countries; I'm only familiar with the laws in the U.S. The oldest son inherits everything, leaving Arthur as a fourth son out in the cold, and the lady to be dispossessed of everything with all of her husband's estate going to the nephew.

By the way, Arthur stays at the Sailor's Rest! I'll have to dig out the Knight's Acre series and see if it is possible this is Mattie's Sailor's Rest. I can't remember the name of the town she went to but the time frame is right.


message 9: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments As we go on, there are a few threads linking The Old Priory to other NL books...naturally, because the area is familiar, but it also gives one the feeling of " coming home ", doesn't it ?
It is by accident that Arthur comes upon Ockley, in well known NL territory, hard on Layer Wood.
He just wanted, after his recent experiences, to get out of Norfolk and was happy to be in the next county, Suffolk.
The Priory had had a bad reputation for 50 years for bad luck. But the impossible comes true....the land-hungry Arthur, because of this cloud, is able to but 150 acres for only 50 pounds ! Once again, he is lucky.


Donna | 143 comments Tanya's comment "it also gives one the feeling of " coming home ", doesn't it ?"

That is precisely the feeling I had as I read of Arthur becoming a resident of the priory. But as I felt at home in his setting, he never was embraced as a member of the community. His neighbors' reasons for doing so were 1) he had not followed their advice, 2) he was an outsider from his arrival, 3) he had misfortunes among his successes and the folk across the stream chose to give the former more weight, confirming their biases about the priory and stoking their fears.

This fear and distrust of the "other" appear as another theme that runs through several of NL's books. And, magic or witchery is frequently her device for representing the basis of fear. A few stories that come to mind--Jassy, Gad's Hall, Townhouse Trilogy, Suffolk Trilogy. Reading NL now for me is like resuming a conversation with a long-lost friend.


message 11: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Yes, the Suffolk people even regarded people from just across the border in Norfolk as " foreigners "....it is very nice how the book comes a full circle, with Arabella Shawcross's narrative, because her father ( who was also at sea, but for much longer and was far more successful than Arthur ) was also regarded as a "foreigner " and shunned by the county folk he was desperate to be intimate with - in vain, until he was shown the way !


message 12: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments My apologies for absence dear members , I am just back from lovely Singapore , escaping part of the ( Australian ) winter , so nice......

TOP is one of my favourites- partly, I think, because of the sense of homecoming that several of you have mentioned, and the way in which the book comes full circle in many senses.

In terms of characters Lettice Tresize is wonderful isn't she ! Apart from her early life with her mother and the much loved (but faithless) Anne her stepmother , she has so much to contend with , the truly nasty and crass second stepmother Kate for a start. Though, in fairness Kate's marriage can hardly have been happy, married for such an openly pragmatic reason and most unlikely to have been shown much respect or even a facsimile of love from Arthur . And Kate's ultimate fate, of course, is as terrible a outcome as could be imagined .
And then to be so betrayed by the man she truly loved , poor Lettice. But , she wins through , clever, brave, redoubtable -and lucky , at least while Alan remains a child and the once- beloved Simon has no need to demand his rights .


message 13: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Yes, we can say that Kate deserved what she got, but who are we to throw stones ?? When Arthur comes to fetch 12 year old Lettice from her exile in Baildon, during Kate's pregnancy, and after the birth of his long awaited heir, he refers to Kate as if she were a tool, an object - " She went lunatic ", he said, and, more ominously,
" There have been changes'.The old maid Jenny said, " Your father overlooked nothing and forgave nothing. " Kate paid painfully for every unkindness she had shown Lettice.
Simon's childhood was a perpetual summer, Lettice more a mother than a sister to him, but the dovecote ( charming from the outside, sinister because we know what is now inside ) is always there in the background, where Kate is confined, gradually - as is probable - crazed for real by now, tended as she is by a deaf and dumb half wit.
Everyone not wicked connected with the Old Priory gains happiness through pain.
As for Lettiec, she says, of Simon " I loved him with a passion only just short of idolatry, he was so beautiful, more like an angel than a child born to ordinary human beings . "
It is so sad, with hindsight, to know that none of this will last and that Lettice will only know the meaning of true love when she is old, through her own son, and through her own son'e happiness in finding a true mate.
Someone said, " in writing history, the devil is always in the details ", and here NL is unbeatable in re-CREATING history, with her mastery of little details of seasons and farming and country rituals.


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments One of NL's "little details" in Alan Heath's story is really compelling Alan recalls that he was just learning to walk and walked up to Simon, "feeling very pleased with himself"--and Simon pushed him down! That speaks volumes about the kind of person Simon really was.

Welcome back, Barbara. I've been away myself for a week in a place without the internet so I've had some extra reading time!


message 15: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Tanya wrote: "NL makes a big boo boo - the only one, to my knowledge, that she's ever made. Arthur is only with the lady for 4 nights, but she says, on the last night, that, " for two days, it has not been with me as it should..." and that she is sure that she has conceived. As far as I know, a woman's fertile period is in the middle of her cycle, not at the end !"

The same thought occurred to me, but perhaps it's a matter for Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief."



message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin Grant | 71 comments Sorry I'm just joining in. But I have finished re-reading the entire book. Once I start an NL, I generally can't put it down! Sometimes I have trouble keeping her books separate in my mind, particularly those I haven't read in a while. But I was delighted to find two of my favorite sequences in this book: Arthur's encounter with the mysterious woman (yes, so like a fairy tale!) and Lettice's return home in triumph with her child.

It's sort of interesting to me that Arthur's treatment of Kate as revenge for her treatment of his loved ones is somewhat similar to another character in another novel, who caged for life the nurse who dropped his son. (Mynheer? Scent of Cloves? Sorry, trying to do this from a spotty memory.) Yet the Scent of Cloves character was reprehensible and I'm not sure whether we're supposed to hate Arthur Tresize. I know I was very surprised on this reading of The Old Priory at the extremity of his actions.


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Robin, you are right in remembering Mynheer from Scent of Cloves who treated his son's nurse so badly, keeping her caged up. Hadn't thought about the parallel before. Mynheer was also likable (up to a certain point); he was kind to Julia at first but showed how callous he could be.

I especially liked the character of the young Lettice but she also changed as she got older. What happened to Simon was pretty ruthless and quite a shock!


message 18: by Barbara (last edited Sep 05, 2018 12:25AM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments I just would like to say that I never meant to suggest I thought Kate 'got what she deserved'! I think her punishment was Gothic in it's awfulness. Horrible woman, but no-one could deserve what she eventually got .

Oh yes Robin , Mynheer and Psyche(?) chained to a stake , in a cage ugh! Both men did what they did for lineage and family too, though in somewhat different ways. Mynheer could have done as Arthur Tresize did and father a son with another woman but in his heart he feared poor Pieter's defect was hereditary and nothing to do with his nurse . Which makes his actions even more inexcusable . As indeed are Arthur's don't you think? He starts the books so light-heartedly , though a little arrogant always , but his passage through later life is really rather reprehensible. I guess we are to think he was always secretly in love with his fairy lady , and was only happy again when Anne came along . Who left him for another man of course - meaning in effect that he wasn't enough for either of the women he loved. As later his daughter was not enough for the conniving Philip Wentworth.

On a lighter note, I really like the interlude with the awful Mistress Babcock's daughter, Marion. In very few - and those undemonstrative - pages, Marion's enforced prostitution and breaking free , her doomed love for Alan Heath and her could-have- been- disastrous marriage to Robin are delineated so satisfyingly. I 'm so glad she ended happy and content !


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Interesting point about the Marion interlude, Barbara. I've been reading about writing (lol) and the expression "kill your darlings." Meaning in the writing world, sometimes you have to "kill" a character or storyline that you really like but that doesn't really add that much to the book. Could Marion have been left out? To me it kind of muddied the waters a bit to have two characters in love with Alan.


message 20: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Peggy wrote: "Interesting point about the Marion interlude, Barbara. I've been reading about writing (lol) and the expression "kill your darlings." Meaning in the writing world, sometimes you have to "kill" a ch..."

Hmm, yes I guess Marion and Robin aren't exactly germane to the story , though Marion is useful as a character to contrast to Mistress Babcock and to provide a link to Lettice. She gives Master Babcock his chance at decency too.

Arabella Shawcross falls in love with Alan doesn't she, mostly because of his startling likeness ( and we know why! ) to Lord Gorlestone . Whose attraction, she openly admits, was straight physical desire. Whereas poor Marion is really in love with Alan, Pragmatically, though she doesn't let his unavailability ruin her her life . If Alan is kind of second best for Arabella, then Robin is second best for Marion.....


message 21: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Peggy wrote: " , , , in the writing world, sometimes you have to 'kill' a character or storyline that you really like but . . . ."

And sometimes the "but" isn't that the character "doesn't really add that much." It's that the plot simply requires that that character die at that point in the story, no matter how much the author has come to like him. I had that feeling as I neared the end of writing the one novel I've actually finished, and it occurred to me than that many authors must have such feelings, Dickens wrote in a letter that he was depressed for days after he wrote the death of Little Nell--and I suspect that the first author of Western literature, Homer himself, felt some regret when it came time to kill Hector!

But I digress! : )


message 22: by Barbara (last edited Sep 21, 2018 06:59PM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Well chaps , I guess we are all finished with The Old Priory , though I will wait for our discussion leader Tanya to officially wind us up of course!

I did like TOP, and while it didn't have a heroine like Hester Roon or Araminta Glover, it did have some great women characters didn't it ?
The loveable though steely Lettice for one (does she appear in our in our murderers section btw? I must go and look) And the redoubtable Marion, not to mention her awful mother. And hovering over all, the woman whose secretly and desperately engineered *pregnancy made all this possible - Lady Dunwich who terrorised everyone in her old age and clung to the fashions of Elizabeth 1.

* I know it's unlikely , but I believe it's not impossible to conceive outside the usual window of opportunity and most women are not that regular anyway . Though Lady Dunwich seems to have been, knowing to the day,! But then again she believed you'd know when you'd conceived IF it was with a lover …. hmmmmmm


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Lettice really is a good one! I liked the way Lady Dunwich "hovered" throughout the book and that we found out what happened to her.

Did the end of TOP remind anyone of the end of Nethergate, where Annabelle gets the rare (for NL) happy ending with her "true love"; I think she didn't even know what his name was when she tried to introduce him to her mother? It's been a while since I've read Nethergate. We've made reference to it in several threads though.


message 24: by MaryC (last edited Sep 23, 2018 04:25PM) (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Tanya wrote: "As we go on, there are a few threads linking The Old Priory to other NL books. . . ." Yes, and that old priory is Ockley--familiar to most of us as the home of the Fennells. When did it pass into Fennell hands from Tresize-Heath ones? There couldn't be many generations between the time TOP ends and the time the Fennells are first mentioned. (Do they appear in any book set earlier than the 18th century?)


message 25: by Barbara (last edited Sep 27, 2018 12:08AM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments MaryC wrote: "Tanya wrote: "As we go on, there are a few threads linking The Old Priory to other NL books. . . ." Yes, and that old priory is Ockley--familiar to most of us as the home of the Fennells. When did ..."

Is the Old Priory, Ockley Manor (Priory) ? I mean did it become Ockley Manor the Fennells seat? I don't think I realised . Back in 2009 Mary said, on the Allreaders site we were both on for Norah Lofts back then

"Maybe someone who has read both Bless This House and The Old Priory more recently than I have can shed some light here, but it seems to me that there's some overlap in the ownership of Ockley Priory between the two books. At the end of The Old Priory, Amanda's father is about to buy the Priory as a wedding present for her and Alan, and in Bless this House, the Fennels are there when Alice Rowhedge is eleven. It seems to me that Alice must have been born early in the reign of James I, since she had a grown son by the time of the Civil War, so the sheep Robin incident must have happened about 1620; and in OP, Lettice was born about 1593, so that Alan must have been born not long after 1610. I would guess that OP ends about 1635--well after the Fennels are at Ockley according to BTH. The Fennels are mentioned a couple of times in that book, but I don't remember whether their home is named "


message 26: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments I had forgotten making that earlier post, but, nine years later, I'm still wondering!


message 27: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Dear fellow readers, through some glitch, I haven't received any notifications of comments made on the Old Priory since my last post on 24th August !
I thought that everyone had lost interest! I am so sorry !
I do agree about Marion being a bit of an " extra", but maybe NL only leaves her in to point up the happy ending ( one of the few in NL's books, like Annabelle in " Nethergate ").
I also think that two things come a bit too pat in the middle of the book ....Lettice, escaping from Oxney and giving birth to her baby, arrives by chance at the very house where her father had impregnated ( a horrid word, but that was what he had been brought there to do ! ) the dark beauty and so gained his fortune.. Lettice can change her clothes there while the house is in the confusion of the owner moving on a journey, get some food, and steal a horse, and so get back to Suffolk and her home.
Here we have another smashing coincidence - Her father has died, of a heat stroke, the very previous day, leaving her in full charge, so she has no need to furnish more explanation for the baby she is bringing with her than, " a tinker's brat, found in a ditch".
The baby proves her salvation in the end, after Simon has almost completely ruined them. Another coincidence ( but perhaps proof of the intense bond between mother and son ) is that they both hit on the same way of murdering Simon, on the same day, and in such a way as to shield the other.
Too many coincidences??
And then Arabella Shawcross's grandfather is parson at Gorleston, in Norwich. Here, with the last narrative in the book, in James Stuart's time, we come full circle to the beginning of the book, for the castle is here. The " fairy princess " is now the formidable Dowager Lady Dunwich, who nevertheless has " sad eyes". Naturally, at the only ball Arabella goes to, she dances with Lord Gorleston, the only son and heir; he kisses her idly, and she falls in love.
No wonder she falls in love with his double, Alan, when her father, back from the sea, sets up as a gentleman in Baildon.
By the way, what is Alan's exact blood link to Lord Gorleston ? My head spins !
Alan is the image of Lord Gorleston, but worth a 1000 of him, as Arabella and, more importantly, her father, discover.
How she " gets" him is reminiscent of the Victorian tale in " BLess This House ", where Charlotte ( disappointed in love ) is sent to stay at Mortiboys and meets her distant cousin Rupert, an archaeologist, there - both of them hold back from declaring their mutual attraction until Charlotte, terrified, discovers a man trap in the woods and Rupert subsequently finds the skeleton of the young Jon Borage there, which he gives Christian burial.
Arabella is thrown by her horse at the exact spot in the wood where Lettice had murdered her brother Simon.
In her distress, she limps to the Priory, and, when Alan opens the door, blurts out her love.
NL winds up her tale with a typical few sentences . Arabella says,
" Happy ever after is a fairy-tale ending. Happy now is more within the scope of mere human beings, and I try to savour every passing moment. "
At least Lettice was happy at the end, despite her ill health and arthritis, with the Priory saved by Arabella's dowry, and Alan happy in love.
Much earlier in the book, before she discovered Philip's selfishness, she thought , " Hindsight is very cruel. In its harsh light one sees the mistakes that others have made, the mistakes one has made oneself, sees how narrowly happiness was missed and disaster invited. One thinks, If only....if only..."
That is vintage Norah Lofts !


message 28: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Sorry - I can't seem to stop...keep thinking of new insights...in fact, one can regard the whole of this book as a novella, a fairy tale...the traveller who is a sailor, the fairy princess in the castle,the fortune made on both sides subsequently, the heir bought by marriage to a woman who went mad, the wicked witch ( Mistress Babcock, venal and serpent like, with the stench of the tannery and whoredom ), the maiden all forlorn ( Marion ) and, finally, the prince in disguise, the farmer's son, Alan, who finds his true love, who also happens to be rich.
When I think of all the coincidences in the Old Priory, it IS like a fairytale....almost too good to be true.
In the same way, in "Nethergate ", Annabelle is brought back to the county where her beloved old home, Nethergate is. Her mother is descending into a fantasy world and has lost interest in her when, abracadabra, out of the blue, Stephen Fennel, with whose wife Dilys Annabelle is staying, brings a new neighbour to visit who has just inherited Nethergate- and it is John Franklin, whom Annabelle met on a stormy night when she was at school, fell in love with at first sight, and then lost sight of. It appears that John did the same, and now they have each other, AND the house Annabelle worships and that her mother is tied to .... happily ever after !
A common leitmotif here is Annabelle's hair ( because of which her grandfather repudiates her, she being the natural child of his dead son, and all her misfortunes stem from that ) and Alan's hair ( he being equally illegitimate ) - the same chestnut !


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Terrific insights, Tanya! You also remembered all the details from Nethergate. Your mention of Annabelle's hair reminded me of the episode where she was looking out the window (as a child) during a snowstorm and someone commented that it was "just like a picture" and her grandfather got furious because he thought they said "just like THE picture" (of his son, Annabelle's father). As you said, he refused to recognize her as his granddaughter.

And it is amazing how many characters from NL's books have that striking chestnut hair color!


message 30: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Peggy, Tanya, I've often thought that Nethergate would make an especially good movie, because of that last scene. The role of the most recent John Franklin would be a great way to introduce a new leading-man type--a small but romantic and memorable role. Imagine the music that would be played as he comes into Steven and Annabelle's sight in the parlor at Ockley!

I'm still uncertain what shade "chestnut" hair is! Reddish brown--coppery? Most of the chestnuts I've seen have dark brown, glossy shells, but I have seen some, smaller, with medium brown, slightly reddish, matte shells. I suppose it's basically the color of a chestnut horse?


message 31: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Yes, the " real " chestnut would be the Titian hair so admired by the painter of the same name...it's a very deep red, with coppery/brown overtones...rather like the famous crossbreed cattle bred by Mrs. Thorley at Gad's Hall ( " The Haunting of Gad's Hall " ).
And, yes, Mary, I think Nethergate would make a great movie...as would Jassy, as would so many others of NL's books - strange no-one has hit on her - she has, for the length of her books, as many characters as Dickens does !


message 32: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments So- I've worked out the relationship between Lord Gorleston and Alan -Arthur is Lord Gorleston's father, and he is Alan's grandfather - all three share the same signature hair


message 33: by MaryC (last edited Oct 11, 2018 08:03AM) (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Might the Lord Gorleston mentioned at the end be Arthur's grandson rather than his son? Arthur's son by Lady Gorleston would be a bit older than Lettice and thus old enough to be Alan's father.


message 34: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Quite possible, I think, but still with the lady dowager lording it over his head, andwhat happened to his parents .??


message 35: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Something got 'em?


message 36: by Peggy (last edited Oct 07, 2018 03:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments Mary, your comment about Nethergate's potential to be a good movie - remember a few years ago when Maggie asked us to do book recaps for potential movie scripts? There was some interest then.

I think Mary is on the right track with young Lord Gorleston being Arthur's grandson, considering the ages. Making him Alan's cousin?


message 37: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments But what happened to Lord g's parents??


Donna | 143 comments I, too, was perplexed by the large age discrepancy between young Lord Gorleston and the years that seem to have transpired since Arthur impregnated the lady in waiting (so to speak). I wish I had family tree visuals for some NL books, like the one Barbara devised for the House trilogy.


message 39: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Look at it this way - Arthur fathers a son by Lady Dunwich when he's 20 ( about ).
He then has Lettice by his first wife when he's 30, let's say.
His illegitimate son ( Arthur 2 ) is now 10.
When Lettice is 25 ( let's say ) she gives birth to Alan.
When Alan is 20 ( about ) and Arabella Shawcross has arrived on the scene, Arthur 2 is 50 - so cannot possibly be the Lord Gorleston that Arabella meets, but his legitimate son, who is about 20-25 years old.

I guess the reason that we never hear about who his parents are or what their story was - they might even BE at the ball where Arabella meets him for the only time - but only meet his grandmother, the Dowager Lady Dunwich, is because she is germane to the story and they are not.
I'm sorry for introducing this red herring, but it was too tempting.
For myself, I was so carried away by the unfolding fairy tale when I read and re-read the old priory, that the discrepancy in age between Lord G. and Alan never even occured to me !


Peggy (peggy908) | 884 comments That's some good deducing there, Tanya. I also thought of Lord G as Arthur's son.


message 41: by Barbara (last edited Nov 02, 2018 09:02PM) (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Donna wrote: "I, too, was perplexed by the large age discrepancy between young Lord Gorleston and the years that seem to have transpired since Arthur impregnated the lady in waiting (so to speak). I wish I had f..."

Yes I think Tanya is right too Donna, I think aIways thought the same as her without actually having thought about it if that makes sense"
Thank you for the genealogy mention , I rather enjoyed doing it , maybe I should try one for TOP or another NL perhaps .

Everyone I am so sorry to have been absent for so long and particularly sorry to Peggy and Tanya for letting them down as co moderator . People have been so understanding, no one has said 'oh for heaven's sake it was just a dog' or anything like that thank goodness.

Are we wrapping TOP ? It has been a good read and well lead I think and quite satisfying at the end , though I wish Lettice could have had a happier life ( despite being a murderer, at least by intention ) !


message 42: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments Anyway, better happy in the end, like Lettice, than the opposite...Maybe an intended murder by two people at the same time, to remove a thoroughly unpleasant person from everyone's life, cancels out the sin ??


message 43: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2108 comments Tanya wrote: "Anyway, better happy in the end, like Lettice, than the opposite...Maybe an intended murder by two people at the same time, to remove a thoroughly unpleasant person from everyone's life, cancels ou..."

So funny . Are you Jesuit trained?


message 44: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 414 comments No, but have many of them in the family !


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