Picks and Pans Review: The House of Eliott

updated 04/18/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/18/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Jean Marsh

Novelization" is not a term to strike confidence in the hearts of readers. This effort, by the Emmy Award-winning actress and co-creator of both Upstairs. Downstairs and the Arts & Entertainment network production of The House of Eliott, will probably be savored most by fans of the Sunday-night A&E series who need to feed their fix during the week.

Marsh, who played plucky parlor maid Rose in Upstairs, Downstairs, has furnished The House of Eliott with two plucky heroines: Beatrice, hot-tempered and, at 30, convinced that she is doomed to spinsterhood; and her beautiful younger sister Evangeline.

The two women are forced to make their way in 1922 London after the death of their autocratic father. It doesn't help that Bea and Evie must contend with a vain aunt, an evil cousin and their father's scandalous past.

To her credit, Marsh expands her story to give a sense of the class struggle and the political unrest of the '20s. The Home of Eliott goes down easily—the most a novelization can hope for. (St. Martin's Press, $20.95)

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