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The knight of cheerful countenance by Molly…

The knight of cheerful countenance (1926)

by Molly Keane

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The Knight of Cheerful Countenance by Molly Keane; (5*)

I found this book to be a delightful read what with all of the dogs, horses, rollicking and frolicking friends coming and going along with some very youthful romantic interests. It quite took me back to my teen & early twenties years. Not that I rode to hounds, mind you, but just the temper of the story and the attitudes of the youth. I loved this one so very much!
I can't imagine having written a book at the age of seventeen. And yet Molly Keane was just seventeen when she wrote this book. Amazingly I find that I can still enjoy it at the ripe old age of sixty seven. The storyline sucked me right in and I read it straight through, not wanting it to end. The world which Keane wrote about is now long gone. But the reader doesn't feel that loss while reading this work.
For the youth in this story, being young, having a good time enjoying life, the horses, dogs and friendships were what mattered. They did not yet know the difficulties of life and what it can bring.
Keane's story is simply this: One Allan Hillingdon has come to Ireland from India, traveling through England. Although his relatives in England liked him he isn't quite rich enough and they feared one of the young ladies of the family would fall for him. Much better to send him off to his Irish relation. He arrives at Bungarvin to visit with his cousin Major Hillngdon who has two beautiful daughters and a few younger sons.
But it is the daughters Allan is drawn to. Ann Hillingdon, beautiful yet practical, is a good judge of horses and an excellent horsewoman. Allan instantly falls for her when she meets him at the station. However it is Captain Dennys Saint Lawrence who owns Ann's heart. Dennys is the Master of Hounds and he and Ann have been good friends for some time. Unfortunately Ann's father doesn't approve and isn't likely to agree to a marriage between Ann and someone of a slightly lower station in life. Dennys may be respected for his savvy with horses and dogs but his father is an unscrupulous horse dealer who manages to throw doubt on Dennys' integrity. Because of questionable doings Ann finds herself in turmoil, uncertain how she should feel about what she's heard about Dennys.
To complicate matters Ann's younger sister Sybil is instantly as smitten with Allan as Allan is with Ann. Ann may be beautiful in a classical manner but Sybil's beauty is something more. She exudes charm. It's obvious from Allan's demeanor how he feels about Ann but that doesn't stop Sybil from using her wiles to attract him. Events will conspire against the lovers from pairing up properly. Of course the story is about how the relationships are worked out and it's all set against a backdrop of the late 1920s Irish country high society.
Along with the sportier scenes there are also tennis parties, dances and life in general in a grand old country house.
This story is quite the frolic and I loved it for what it was. I definitely need to dig into Keane's books for I found something here that I've not come across for a very long time. ( )
4 vote rainpebble | Nov 14, 2014 |
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"The thought of her filled him with a deep, a most wondrous emotion, a boundless reverence and tenderness. This, then, was the Real Thing."
To Ballinrath House, where purple bog gives way to slate-coloured mountains, comes Allan to visit his Irish cousins. No sooner has he arrived than he falls in love with Cousin Ann, though it seems she only has eyes for Captain Dennys St Lawrence. Cousin Sibyl is as swiftly and equally smitten - with Allan. As the summer gives way to misty autums days, the social round of dancing and hunting does little to untangle love's misunderstandings. Here hearts - and reputations - threaten to be broken in the elusive pursuit of happiness.
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