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Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1945. Dark green boards, colored top-edge, embossed front cover, deckled pages, gilt letters. Spine bumping, hd & ft, corners. Hd & ft are slightly rubbed and chipped. P.O.'s signature & address label, on fff. No other markings. Tightly bound. 277 pages.
Norah Lofts, née Norah Ethel Robinson, (27 August 1904 – 10 September 1983) was a 20th-century best-selling British author. She wrote more than fifty books specialising in historical fiction, but she also wrote non-fiction and short stories. Many of her novels, including her Suffolk Trilogy, follow the history of specific houses and their residents over several generations.
Lofts also wrote under the pen names Peter Curtis and Juliet Astley. She chose to release her murder-mystery novels under the pen name Peter Curtis because she did not want the readers of her historic fiction to pick up a murder-mystery novel and expect classic Norah Lofts historical fiction. However, the murders still show characteristic Norah Lofts elements.
Most of her historical novels fall into two general categories: biographical novels about queens, among them Anne Boleyn, Isabella I of Castile, and Catherine of Aragon; and novels set in East Anglia centered around the fictitious town of Baildon. Lofts' East Anglia works in the 1930s and 1940s show great concern with the very poor in society and their inability to change their conditions. Her approach suggests an interest in the social reformism that became a feature of British post-war society. She was not afraid to tackle potentially sensitive subjects.
Several of her novels were turned into films. Jassy was filmed in 1947, starring Margaret Lockwood and Dennis Price. 'You're Best Alone' was filmed as "Guilt Is My Shadow" (1950). 'The Devil's Own' (also known as The Little Wax Doll and Catch As Catch Can) was filmed as "The Witches" (1966). The film "7 Women" (1966) was directed by John Ford and very loosely based on the story 'Chinese Finale', by Lofts. Her books still have a devoted international readership.
Jassy is a Gainsborough melodrama, the only one to be made in Technicolor. A fine country estate has just been lost at the roll of a dice, and the Hatton family have to move out as the Helmars take possession.
As new landlords, the Helmars then have to face an angry mob of villagers, demanding better working conditions. They are led by Tom, who is mortally wounded by a drunken Helmar.
The Hattons have been employing Tom’s wild half-gypsy daughter, Jassy, as a servant, but sack her when she gets too close to their son Barney. She makes friends with Helmar’s daughter Dilys, who gets her a job as her father’s housekeeper at the big estate. Soon she marries him, but after a riding accident, he becomes violent towards her. A dumb servant-girl, Lindy, poisons Helmar for his brutality to his wife. Lindy and Jassy are both charged with the crime and found guilty. But the shock has restored Lindy’s power of speech, and she is able to exonerate Jassy, who signs over the estate to Barney, as its rightful owner, and the two of them are reunited.