Shattered Dreams: The Story of Charlotte Fedders

Laura Malone Elliott, Author, Charlotte Fedders, With HarperCollins Publishers $17.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-06-015716-6
As related to Elliott, Fedders's story moves from her birth in Maryland in 1943, through 16 years as an abused wife, to her divorce in 1985 from John R. Fedders, an official of the Securities Exchange Commission. The couple lived graciously in Washington, where in the privacy of their home the husband beat his wife and browbeat their five sons. In a less melodramatic telling, the book would more forcefully call needed attention to the problem of abused women. It is made abundantly clear that Fedders suffered brutality but the reason why she endured it for so many years is not satisfactorily explained. Elliott's contention that the victim's Catholic upbringing trained her to submissiveness is not entirely convincing. And there is no analysis of why the husband, with the same religious background, became a dangerous bully. Elliott is a reporter for Washingtonian magazine. Photos not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Dell; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; author tour. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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