St. Martin's, Apr 2002, 26.95, 486 pp.
Perhaps it is simply because of his age or more complexly the end of Pax Britannia, but Scottish family patriarch Owen Franklin retires from heading up the family shipbuilding business. While the European superpowers begin an arms race heading towards the Great War, Owen distributes shares of stock to his male descendent and to their shock his granddaughter Lindsay.
Her “partners” believe Lindsay being a teenage female will be easy to manipulate. They even foster an Irish cousin Forbes McCullough on her. However, as the twentieth century begins to unfold, Lindsay is determined to understand her family business so that she can contribute. She quickly learns one of the principles of life that a woman must be at least twice as smart and toil twice as hard as a male to gain a semblance of acceptance and respect. Now she begins a trek to gain control of her life and the family ship building company as the men in her circle try to manipulate her in the boardroom and the bedroom.
THE PIPER'S TUNE, a turn of the previous century character study, digs deep into a bygone era so that fans of historical novels will have a taste for the early Edwardian age. However, the story line moves very slowly as the heroine leisurely and at times tediously learns about life while competing with males. The metamorphosis of Lindsay will engage those readers who relish a casually paced plot that Jessica Stirling microscopically focuses on the heroine.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner