Theo and Matilda: A Novel

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9780060164836: Theo and Matilda: A Novel

A love story seen through four windows of history.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In this lavishly entertaining fiction, the British author of Loving Attitudes turns her fertile imagination to unfolding five psychologically astute love stories. Each features a different pair named Theo and Matilda, a different period of English history and a constant site, Abbeyfields, which evolves from a monastery to modern housing. Lovely Anglo-Saxon princess Matilda and boyish monk Theo, both burning with desire and guilt, quarry ancient Roman stones to build a medieval double cloister, later sacked by Viking raiders. A 16th-century Matilda weds ex-priest Theo and leads him to her Tudor manor (the monastery has been destroyed by the anti-Catholic zealots of Henry VIII). Most deeply realized are a pregnant Matilda in her sumptuous Victorian mansion of Abbeyfields Hall, managing seven children and an unruly, love-struck parson, and her hearty, bearded, 50-year-old Theo, explorer, naturalist and collector of exotic snakes. A generation later the edifice is a private insane asylum where Theo, a mad renegade priest, and frail, suicidal Matilda--both graying but irrepressible--become lovers and heal each other. At last, a contemporary wife and husband, full of hope, survey the houses and gardens that retain picturesque bits of the original ruins. Billington writes with exuberance, a seeming naivete that suggestively veils her gift for delineating violence and tragedy.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Theo and Matilda are the central characters in a series of love stories that comprise this novel. Living in different epochs, from the 8th century through an unspecified postmodern era, their various stories are played out in one English locale called Abbeysfield. In each era the lovers are linked by an attraction which does not always bring them happiness. Each historical period seems authentic but serves only as a pale background to the interplay of the lovers. How unfortunate that Billington's smooth, even elegant writing cannot obliterate the bore dom generated by the self-centered protagonists. Ironically, the author's minor characters are often more interesting, and it is in their development that her humor and knowledge of human emotions is most evident.
- Patricia Altner, Dept. of Defense Lib., Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Rachel Billington
Published by Harpercollins (1991)
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Billington, Rachel
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Published by Harpercollins (1991)
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