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Paperback choice;Books

ALWENA'S GARDEN. Mary Oldham. Pont. pound;5.95.

Plas Idaleg, a mouldering mansion in the Welsh hills, is set to become a monumental old-tome-and manuscript-style library. Built in the 18th century by a doting father for his crippled daughter, it is now the home of Alwena, similarly afflicted by junior rheumatoid arthritis and an overprotective dad. This extraordinary book dallies with Gothic, romantic and telepathic motifs, but is remarkable for the things it simply refuses to be. Stern rather than sentimental, its charm lies in its painstakingly recreated Anglo-Welsh idiom.

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