First Love, Last Love

Judith Saxton, Author
Judith Saxton, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-08779-1
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Hardcover - 512 pages - 978-0-09-952282-9
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Energetic characters in believable situations and an intensely evoked sense of place give life to Saxton's ( The Pride ) WW II-era tale of three British families. In the 1930s , Henry and Dora Cream earn an adequate living from North Sea fishing, and are proud of their two daughters: Lizzie, a stunningly attractive teenager, and Sybil, 10, who is plain-looking but exceptionally bright. The girls form close friendships with Ralph and Christina Winterton, whose wealthy family summers near the Creams' seaside cottage. While these four youngsters become inextricably bound, a brash Jewish boy named Fenn Kitzman flees his abusive relatives in Manchester and stows away on a freighter bound for New York. The war brings profound changes. Ralph's unsavory side is revealed and Lizzie becomes tragically estranged from her close-knit family. On a windswept beach, Fenn, now an American pilot based in England, meets Sybil. Saxton's keenly observed settings and period details, ranging from a spot ``where the gorse grows and the larks nest'' to the carefully described contents of a fisherman's cottage, give this story gratifying immediacy. (Feb.)
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