BEACHMONT LETTERS

Cathleen Twomey, Author . Boyds Mills $16.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-59078-050-3

Although this novel is set nearly 60 years ago in the WWII era, readers will have no trouble relating to 17-year-old Eleanor, a girl longing for love and acceptance. Eleanor believes that her life will never be normal again after a tragic fire kills her father and leaves her face permanently scarred. Confronted with mounting bills, her family must sell their house and move to a beachside community where strangers' averted glances are a constant reminder to Eleanor that she is different. The teen finds solace in her correspondence with a soldier who knows nothing of her disfigurement. As the letters become more intimate, however, Eleanor grows uneasy, knowing that the relationship she has built with Cpl. Robert Bettencourt is based on deception. In this compassionately rendered story, Twomey (Charlotte's Choice) eloquently expresses the fluctuating moods of her heroine. Eleanor's despair over her marred skin ("Melted wax, that's what her scars felt like") is as vividly portrayed as her displaced anger at her father for sacrificing his life to save hers. When financial concerns force her to take a job in a pharmacy, Eleanor's willingness to accept herself and trust others grows, slowly and convincingly. Even as readers follow Eleanor's painful trials, they will be inspired by her courage and her unflagging loyalty to newfound friends. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
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