Close Relations

Written by Michael Taylor
Review by Sara Wilson

Although he is only the son of a humble lockkeeper, Algie Stokes dreams of starting his own business manufacturing bicycles. When he falls in love with Marigold Bingham, his ambitions become more pressing as he longs to earn enough money to marry her and remove her from the poverty and back-breaking labour on board her family’s canal boat. Then a series of events conspire to split up the lovers, and Marigold leaves Algie unaware that she is carrying his child.

Algie falls into the sympathetic arms of his employer’s wife, the lovely Aurelia. Aurelia is lonely in her unhappy marriage and willing to risk everything to be with Algie, even though she knows he still loves Marigold. Events come to a head when Algie is sacked and Aurelia decides to leave her husband for good.

With his business plans underway and a good woman at his side, Algie’s life is almost complete. But elsewhere Marigold still loves Algie and, even on the verge of childbirth, is searching for his whereabouts. In the end it is Aurelia who holds the key to the couple’s happiness – even at the expense of her own.

Once again Michael Taylor has produced a winning formula. He writes so fluently and vividly that it is no wonder he has attracted such a large following. Romantic sagas have traditionally been the province of female writers, but Michael Taylor convincingly breaks the mould. He is a born storyteller with a great sense of history and a talent for writing interesting characters and memorable prose.