My Lute be Still by Philippa Mat (Robert Hale £3.60).
The Wyatts of Allington appear again in this sequel to Philippa Wiat's trilogy. Was Elizabeth the First the daughter of Sir Thomas Wyatt and not Henry the Eighth?
This rather weak but charming novel claims Elizabeth for the Wyatts. The local colour is good, as in all Miss Wiat's books. She has a keen historical sense, and this makes nice light reading.
This Turbulent Priest by Margaret Butler (Macmillan £3.95).
In this sequel to "The Lion of England" and "The Lion of Justice", Margaret Butler tells of the last years of Thomas Becket, which ended in his murder by King Henry ll's knights in Canterbury Cathedral.
It is well constructed and forceful, as befits the theme. The portrayal of the murderous knights is fascinating' their brutality and greed reflects life as it was in the 12th century.
Henry and Thomas are here the great love which turned into a battle of giants. Both of them proud and arrogant, but ThoMas was a saint and Henry a sinner.
The authoress must be congratulated in breathing life into a much-explored subject.
Marry Me by John Updike (Andre Deutsch, £3.50).
Light on the surface, disturbing underneath. What people do to themselves and their children in the name of love.
John Updike writes well on the theme of two married couples who thoroughly mix it.
Jerry Conant, Ruth's husband, has an affair with Richard Matthias' wife, Sallie. Jerry is a grand talker — in fact he talks everyone into such a state they don't know whether they are coming or going.
The writing is excellent, witty and observant, holding the attention all the way. Set in Connecticut and other parts of America, the author describes his book as a romance: an ironical sub-title, I trust.
Conflict for a Crown by Rosemary Churchill, (Robert £3.25).
Another Tudor tale the struggle for the Crown during the short reign of Edward VI. Rosemary Churchill writes clearly about Henry Viii's three children and the powerful lords who used Lady Jane Grey as a pawn in their bid to control England.
Mary Tudor is very much the heroine in this view of the [lines. There can be no doubt of her courage in clinging to the Catholic Faith but it is a little difficult to believe she was such a wonderful person.
Her horror of cruelty portrayed here does not tally with later events. A good, solid, historical novel.
'11w Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels (Souvenir Press £3.50).
A jolly romance about a splendid, intrepid girl called Sandy (short for Ariadne) daughter of a controversial archaeologist who has ignored her existence until he realises that she is a super deep-sea diver.
He involves her in a treasure hunt off a volcanic Greek Island. It is all very symbolic. and Sandy finds true love after some predictable adventures. Rather fun, and the unveiling of the villain is a surprise!
The Ceremony of Innocence by David Martin (Seeker and Warburg £3,90).
An impressive book about a boy. Colm, who grows up in the back streets of Belfast. He comes through the German bombing of the city a changed child to live in a world of violence and poverty.
Son of a mixed religion marriage, his father is killed in the war, his life is connected with various people who haunt the pages of this beautiful story: his loving and lovable mother, his two uncles and Shellshock Sam, still fighting the First WOrld War in his damaged mind.
Quite the best novel of many written about Ireland in recent months.