Like Mother, Like Daughter

Marcia Rose, Author
Marcia Rose, Author Ballantine Books $21.95 (414p) ISBN 978-0-345-38769-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 466 pages - 978-0-345-37572-8
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``You don't need a man to take care of you'' is the family motto of the heroines in Rose's ( The Hospital ) new novel, a motto they all learn the hard way in order to survive. Spanning four generations and two continents, this competently crafted saga traces the lives of four strong, talented and passionate women and their relationships as mothers and daughters. Young Russian-Jewish immigrant Leah Lazarus narrowly escapes death in New York City's Triangle Factory Fire of 1910 and then joins the bohemian world of Greenwich Village. Her daughter, Jo McCready, drops out of college and establishes herself as a photographer during the London Blitz but hides her true identity and her religion in order to marry a titled British pilot. Though she finally frees herself from their unhappy union, the estrangement between mother and daughter cannot be healed. Jo's daughter, Sarah Fielding, also escapes into art; but on the brink of stardom as a singer, she lets men sabotage her career. When Sarah abandons her daughter, Annie, Leah raises the child. Independent and headstrong like all the women in her family, Annie is determined to reconcile her mother and her great-grandmother. Rose has a gift for strong characterization, though her heroines are shaped to fit the theme here--that the mother-daughter relationship supercedes any liaison with men. The narrative is sometimes slow, and a few passages veer into melodrama. On the whole, however, Rose offers a satisfying emotional fix, nicely grounded in historical detail. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (Aug.)
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