The Flight of the Swan

Elizabeth Webster, Author
Elizabeth Webster, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-04991-1
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Webster ( Johnnie Alone ) draws a sympathetic portrait of a battered wife and mother who flees with her two young children from a drunken, unemployed husband. Londoner Laurie Collins finds her way to a woman's shelter with the aid of a kindly vegetable vendor who will have an ongoing role in her rehabilitation. With the help of the shelter director and a female solicitor, Laurie begins to understand and assert her rights. When Laurie, her children and a pregnant teenager are given the opportunity to visit the countryside, they discover a wildlife refuge being developed by Clem Harper, who observes a similarity between fragile Laurie and the swans he tends. Offered the use of a cottage in exchange for assistance with farm accounts, Laurie begins to envision a life of independence, a dream at risk when her ex-husband is released from jail. Though her delineation of the psychological complexities of the willing-victim mentality is commendable, Webster's narrative loses momentum at times. Nonetheless, she exhibits skill and sensitivity, particularly in depicting the children's gradual recovery from the fear inbred during their early years. Readers Digest Condensed Books selection. (Nov.)
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