When I saw this title Rustication by Charles Palliser, I couldn’t help think about Neil Young. Different reference, but so what. This novel starts out in such despair; I couldn’t put it down. A baby thrown into a fire? We are in England in December of 1863 to January 1864. A journal, horrid letters, demented people, and a ball dominate the action of these two months. Oh and don’t forget the sins of the father. Opium and Laudanum in this story too.
Now on the brighter side, Richard has not been asked back to Cambridge, his father died and he wasn’t told about it, the widow and his sister have moved from their comfortable digs to a remote mansion in the middle of nowhere and in the marshland. In addition they are broke and the house they are in now may not be theirs and they will have to vacate it within the year. With each page it gets worse. Then his mother asks him to leave. He has no money, no home, no future.
Things have changed and Richard is staying. He has secrets, his sister has secrets and there is someone harming animals and writing disgusting almost illiterate letters to people. A most strange society. Money, marriages, bastards, greed, and lies make this a most entertaining tale with a grand ending.