So it was that I picked up Colleen McCullough's best-selling saga of love, passion and loyalty in the Australian outback. I don't have to talk about the story - Ralph de Bricassart and Meggie Cleary's forbidden love - interested me not the least. A sportscar loving, politically ambitious priest who comes every now and then for his two nights of gratification with his secret 'rose.' Ah, impressed I was not. The Guardian calls it the best bad book ever - and well, sorry Mocha, I agree. Colleen McCullough, it seemed to me, was trying too hard to play Margaret Mitchell. But unlike Scarlett who grows in character and strength in Gone With The Wind, Meggie just fades into the background. All that fire is lost once she walks out on her husband, and devotes the rest of her life to Drogheda.
My most interesting character? Meggie's daughter - Justine. Her sarcasm, her almost mocking disdain of life was far more real than Meggie's piety, and Ralph's apparently intolerable torment.
Verdict: Ho Hum. Ahem.