by Sylvia Murphy
Candice Hargreaves, born in the middle east just before the second world war is the eponymous heroine of this highly entertaining novel.
The story begins in Palestine where the Hargreaves (mum, dad and sister Netta) live a comfortable ex-pat existence until, that is, Candy falls in love with a local boy, Naseem, the son of the familyís servant Leila. War breaks out and the family go back to England abandoning Candy who is sent to a convent for her sins Ė she has become pregnant by Naseem. The child is born and Candy is told that he didnít live. Grief-stricken she makes her own way back to England and embarks on a most remarkable personal journey.
Now married to an airforce pilot, Candy Hargreaves becomes Candy Price. Two daughters later, things donít work out and when Candy meets Rupert Taylor, the handsome matinee idol, the two fall madly in love and move to Hollywood. Leon (later to become a famous rock-star) is born. They live quietly in Beverly Hills with her three children until husband number one snatches the two girls Pippa and Danny and takes them back to England. Rupertís infidelity sends Candy into the arms of a sleazy film director and into the movies. Candy Price, now a famous film star, returns to the UK to find her daughters, and who should turn up but gold-digging mum and sister Netta. Netta introduces Candy to the heir to the Penmore dynasty, she marries him and becomes a countess and another child, Jeremy, is born.
When Candy is killed on a mysterious visit to Tel Aviv, the family assemble in the stately Yorkshire home for the funeral and, in a denouement worthy of Agatha Christie, the ill-assorted brood gather in the library as skeletons fight over each other to fall out of the cupboard.
Though she has numerous other published works this book is self-published by Sylvia Murphy and suffers a bit from lack of editing and a rather lacklustre cover. This notwithstanding, it is a compelling read and, among the glitz and glamour, gives a sympathetic insight to the plight of the people of Palestine.
Thank you to Virginia Foley for this review.