Circle of Light

Elaine Corbell Roe, Author, Eliane Corbeil Roe, Author HarperCollins Publishers $13.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-06-025072-0
This first novel is remarkable for its contained, quiet mood, its evocative images and the penetrating idea that lives are not punctuated by landmarks as much as by hushed moments of insight. Lucy has been asked, by Sister Andrew, to be her school's candidate in a scholarship competition. It will mean long hours of concentration and preparation, shut away from her classmates in a nuns' study. Lucy believes she is not qualified, but finds herself consenting to Sister Andrew's wishes, a decision she at first regrets. Lucy loses her chance to know a nice boy named Gabriel better; by the time the competition is over, his family has moved away. She doesn't win the scholarship, but there are other gains: her withdrawal is nearly complete when she confronts, at last, her feelings about her father's and brother's recent deaths; the story she has written about her father will be published; and she and Gabriel plan to correspond. Much of the action is internal, as Lucy daydreams and probes and wonders in daily solitude at the school. Thoughtful readers will feel her isolation, which at first seems without comfort for Lucy but gradually becomes a source of strength, a change that is movingly delineated by Roe. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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