Leftover Dreams

Charlotte Vale Allen, Author
Charlotte Vale Allen, Author Doubleday Books $22 (674p) ISBN 978-0-385-41944-4
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 596 pages - 978-1-892738-29-5
Hardcover - 674 pages - 978-0-394-22234-9
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On a grand scale but to uneven effect, Allen ( Painted Lives ) tells of two sisters and their travails, tragedies and triumphs. Quiet and frail Faye and charmingly spirited Louise grow up in Toronto in the 1940s and '50s, blamed by their bitter mother for her imperfect life. With the help of their grandmother, the teenage girls escape their mother's mental and physical abuse and move into a place of their own, seeming none the worse for their experiences, although closer than most sisters. When Faye dies of a botched abortion after being raped, 18-year-old Louise moves to London in order to flee her memories. There she creates a new life, making friends and starting a public relations business. But to find--and accept--happiness and love, Louise must journey back to her roots and answer questions raised by Faye's death. The first part of this ambitious novel, describing the girls' childhood, is repetitious, the action attenuated and Faye's characterization one-dimensional. But the pace picks up when Louise moves to London, and her touching, brave search for self-knowledge is both stirring and satisfying. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC alternate. (Mar.)
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