When Gerald Burleigh Brown loses his job due to a frame-up, he has no one to turn to. He returns to London in despair, too devastated even to speak to anyone. Gerald avoids even the shortest of conversations with a stranger. His reputation has been deeply tarnished (undeservedly), and there isn’t a thing he can do about it.
“It was easy to make friends on shipboard – in fact it was difficult not to – but Mr. Brown eluded them, and, apart from a chance meeting in the corridor when he hurried past with a muttered ‘Good morning’ in answer to their smiles, no contact had been made. He was never visible except at meals when he sat at a small table in the corner of the dining-room, eating and reading a book. He was never to be seen on deck. He took no part in games nor swam in the swimming-pool…”
Back in London Gerald decides to visit his sister who has made a success of her actress job and is a well-known star in a play. Once he is back with family (even one sister constitutes ‘family’!), and a loving atmosphere, he begins to regain his equilibrium.
“Gerald had been living at the flat for three weeks by this time and, in spite of the fact that he couldn’t find a job, he felt a great deal better. It was Bess, of course. Bess was giving him back his self-respect. Perhaps his room had helped too. You couldn’t occupy such a comfortable room and continue to feel dirty…”
When Sir Walter MacCallum, a shipyard owner, offers Gerald a job, he jumps at the chance. But will he ever clear up the mystery of who stole the diamonds from the mine where he lost his job?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Gerald and Elizabeth” and was rooting for Gerald all the way! Gerald is polite and unassuming, and determined to conduct himself responsibly (no taking hand-outs for Gerald Burleigh Brown!) The character analysis in this novel, (one of Stevenson’s strengths), is full of insight. The hidden undercurrents revealed in conversation and situations that arise illustrate a great deal about each character’s personality and motives. The author, through her characters, puts her finger on the difficulties and struggles within the human heart.
It is easy to sympathize with Gerald’s plight as, although innocent, his circumstances work to disillusion and discourage him. But all is not lost and Gerald will soon find his way.
Although (as some reviewers mentioned), the plot is often predictable, I found plenty to entertain and amuse me. Another light pleasant read from DE Stevenson to add to my shelf!