The Turquoise

Written by Anya Seton
Review by Audrey Braver

Santa Fe Cameron never knew her aristocratic Spanish mother. When she was seven years old, her Scottish father discovered that she had what they call “the sight” back in his native Highlands. Fey’s father, a doctor, dies in a cholera epidemic, and her Mexican nurse raises Fey in squalor and poverty along with her own children. Fey’s gift is recognized by an old Navajo medicine man, who gives her a turquoise talisman along with a warning about her future. At seventeen, Fey, longing to leave New Mexico and start a new life, runs away with an itinerant actor, Terry Dillon. At first Fey resists Terry’s amorous attentions, but when he arranges to marry her at a Colorado frontier station, she agrees. The couple head for New York City. Terry, dazzled by the slick glamour and golden opportunities of 1870s New York, soon abandons Fey. After his departure Fey realizes she is pregnant. A woman doctor befriends Fey and urges her to become a doctor also. However, Fey has an ambition for herself and her child that requires a great deal of money and she has already found the way to attain all her dreams. After divorcing Terry, she marries financier Simeon Tower and climbs to the top of New York’s society. For ten years, Fey and Simeon are a typical wealthy, society couple, and then Terry returns, bringing misery and death.

The late Anya Seton was a prolific best-selling author in the 1940s and ‘50s. Miss Seton’s novels always reflect a rich historical background based on solid research. Her style is clear, concise, and flowing. The end of The Turquoise, however, seems a bit rushed and vaguely unsatisfactory.