Charlotte's Friends

Sarah Kennedy, Author
Sarah Kennedy, Author Minotaur Books $22.95 (247p) ISBN 978-0-312-18554-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7531-0336-4
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The flat recollection of a materially privileged, emotionally deprived childhood mark this dreary tale about pathetic, egotistical aristocrat and part-time BBC Agony Aunt, or advice columnist, Charlotte Pierce. Age 42 and single, Charlotte spends the bulk of her days recalling the injuries inflicted on her by her alcoholic mother, philandering father and cruel younger brother. When sent away to St. Margaret's girls' school, Charlotte latched on to two classmates, Barty and Therese, whom she designated as her family. While still in school, Charlotte turned her friends against each other so that she could be best friend to each, an arrangement which, murderously orchestrated by Charlotte, has obtained for more than 20 years. Readers learn that Barty's new lesbian lover fell victim to Charlotte and that Charlotte also hastened the demise of a hated BBC producer who suffered a heart attack. Having instigated Barty's increased dependence on her, Charlotte keeps Therese nearby by exposing the criminal past of Therese's lover and thus driving him away. What Charlotte can't manipulate to her own ends is the reunion at St. Margaret's at which her evil deeds are likely to be exposed. Though the material is potentially engaging, this first fiction effort is marked most by a clinical coldness. (Aug.)
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