An Imperfect Lady

Sarah Harrison, Author, Liv Blumer, Editor Warner Books $19.95 (538p) ISBN 978-0-446-51524-5
Cheap, predictable emotional climaxes overwhelm more engaging moments in this highly uneven novel set in England during the early decades of the 20th century. Adeline Gundry is the sunny, outgoing daughter of a landed Devon family. Her beloved father dies in World War I; later, she loses her childhood sweetheart a few years after their marriage. She hits her stride as a painter in London during the 1920s, and joins a decadent Bloomsbury salon headed by writer Marian Elverston (a pale imitation of Virginia Woolf), with whom she recklessly falls in love. When their affair ends bitterly, the bright flame of Adeline's talent is muted while she tries motherhood and married love. Strong-willed Adeline bestrides the narrative like a Valkyrie, well-matched by her wry brother Bob and her abrasive father-in-law. But Harrison's repeated dips into tearjerking formula undercut the handful of intriguing characters she has developed. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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