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Alisha's Bookshelf

A Tangled Web

Summary~ The Darks and Penhallows form one clan. They have a shared history, shared feuds and relationships…and shared heirlooms. One such heirloom is the old Dark jug. Aunt Becky Dark will not tell who is to inherit it at her death. Instead, she makes the condition that the name will be revealed only after one year has passed. All kinds of things can—and do—happen in a year. Engagements are broken or formed, fateful decisions are made, and people are re-evaluated, all because of the mystery of the jug. Everyone wants it, but who will get it? And how will the Penhallows and the Darks sort out the misery and puzzlement that they have created within the year?

This book is indeed “A Tangled Web” of characters. There are too many to be described here. I will discuss a few of the more intriguing and major characters.

Aunt Becky Dark~the head of the clan. She is a spicy old woman with a biting sense of humour and satire. She owns the Dark jug, but now she takes fiendish delight in the havoc she can cause.

Margaret Penhallow~a middle-aged spinster, with a sweet, wistful personality. She dreams of having a home and children, but she is largely ignored by the rest of the clan.

Pennycuik Dark~a bachelor who is quite content with himself, but who decides he should marry in order to get Aunt Becky’s approval, and thus, the jug.

Nan Penhallow~a “modern” young woman. She smokes, dresses outrageously, and flirts. She is generally disliked, and she is quite unfeeling.

Gay Penhallow~the beauty of the clan. She is young and sweet. The clan dislikes her engagement to Noel Gibson and pressures her to marry Dr. Roger Penhallow. Nan has an especial grudge against her.

Peter Dark~a bachelor who lives his own life exploring the wilds. The only person in the world he hates is Donna Dark.

Roger Penhallow~the clan’s trusted doctor. He is intelligent and well-liked. He is in love with Gay Penhallow, but she feels only friendship for him.

Hugh Dark~He married Joscelyn Penhallow, but for some reason that the clan doesn’t know, she left him on their wedding day. He is bitter and unhappy.

Joscelyn Dark~Hugh’s wife. She left him for reasons that she has never explained.

Donna Dark~a widow who has sworn to be forever faithful to the memory of her dead husband. For some reason, though, she finds that his memory is fading.

Little Sam Dark and Big Sam Dark~cousins who live together and occasionally fight. After the gathering at Aunt Becky’s, they have an even bigger fight.

My Thoughts
This is a great book. There is one main theme, and dozens of others sprouting from it. It is not hard to keep track of, tough, because each character is distinctly unique. Although it is not one of L. M. Montgomery’s more well-known books, it is definitely worth a read.

My Rating: 8.5