The Absentee Review

As you can surmise from the title, some of the content of this novel dwells on the problem of absenteeism of Irish landlords (in the 18th and 19th centuries). The young hero, Columbre, discovers the worth of his native land and sees firsthand some of the issues caused by his father’s absence. His mother wastes money trying to outstrip her London acquaintances in glamour, and so she stands in the way of the careful stewardship of the family’s Irish estates. For money and vanity she also stands in the way of her son’s love match.

Circumstantial salvation saves the day (erg). While in Ireland Columbre almost falls prey to a scheming mother and daughter, despite being warned by an older person, and he only escapes after overhearing the schemers (the worst of this circumstantial salvation). His match prospers (I do not think he falls in love until well into the novel, and after the Irish trip) because the lady his mother intends him to marry discovers the love match and is too dignified and generous to disrupt it (I think she too marries for love eventually; I like when every decent character finds love and am disappointed when it does not occur). And I think Columbre’s mother is convinced to move back to Ireland only after realizing how low her London acquaintances think of her. I do not know, but I do not think that she should have been allowed to waste money and force a marriage just because she is the mother (I do not think the father exerted much will-power although I think he was alive).

I am sorry for another scrambled review from a book I read quite a while ago.

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