Dreaming in Color

Charlotte Vale Allen, Author
Charlotte Vale Allen, Author Doubleday Books $22 (401p) ISBN 978-0-385-41945-1
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Hardcover - 767 pages - 978-1-56895-040-2
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-9980-5
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-55166-856-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-55166-030-1
Hardcover - 978-0-7783-0055-7
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Writing with conviction and clarity, prolific novelist Allen ( Leftover Dreams ) offers a highly competent treatment of a topical theme. When her sadistic husband Joe begins menacing their six-year-old daughter Penny, abused and battered Bobby Salton finally flees their upstate New York home. She finds sanctuary in a well-appointed Connecticut house where she is hired to nurse stroke victim Alma Ogilvie, formerly the independent-minded director of a girls school. But Bobby's presence brings out the worst in Alma's sharp-tongued, judgmental niece, Eva Rule, a novelist who disdains Bobby and--blaming the victim--thinks the woman is perhaps responsible for her own abuse. It becomes apparent, though, that Bobby revives painful memories in Eva of her old friend Deborah; gradually, Allen seamlessly weaves Deborah's tragic story into that of the three women's burgeoning relationship. Hovering (far too melodramatically) in the background is the psychopathic Joe, ever on Bobby's trail. Complex and sharply delineated characters merge with often compelling prose as Allen portrays three uncertain women finding some degree of resolve. In addition to her adroit integration of information about the battered wife syndrome, Allen includes a list of North American organizations that aid victims of domestic violence. (Aug.)
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