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Thursday, June 10th 2004

12:29 PM

Brian Moore's THE MANGAN INHERITANCE

Recently on a trip away from my computer (for a week) I had the chance to catch up on reading from my own list. Some books I list right away because I can tell from publishers descriptions or reviews from others that the plot involves genealogy. Others I hold back. I did so with the Mangan Inheritance (1979). The book is listed several places on the web as genealogy fiction. However, I have mixed feelings about that designation.

The plot does involves the main character, Jamie Mangan searching for his family history. Jamie's search begins because of the striking resemblance he has to a man in an unidentified photograph among his fathers own genealogy records. (The reference to the photo reminded me of those pictures of living descendents and ancestors compared to one another you see in the Family Chronicle---always amazing!) Anyway.....there are clues that lead Jamie to believe that the man in the photo is an ancestor and poet he has long admired with the same surname.

At this point in the story I'm thinking ooooooo this is going to be good. As I'm reading I've got my own plan of record searching all mapped out! But Jamie only goes after parish records and personal interviews. His search could have yielded more detail and quicker results had he sought out simple records like census and deeds! No wonder he gets involved with a woman and ends up in a legal tangle-- he should have stuck to the clues provided by his fathers research.

As a novel the book was ok. I was sometimes bogged down by descriptions and Moore gives descriptions. Moore gave me too much information about the sex between Jamie and the girl. What can I say I'm an old fashioned girl....I like to use my imagination (see my recommended reading under Mysteries for nice clean wonderful stories with a great marital romance by Earlene Fowler). As genealogy fiction I wasn't impressed. Jamie never quite used the sources in front of him to the fullest! However, to each his or her own!

As always, Thanks for stopping bye. Christine

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