The Women's House

Joan Lingard, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (215p) ISBN 978-0-312-03453-5
The name on the gate was Shangri-la, but everyone in the neighborhood knew it as ``the women's house'' because the rambling, turreted and crumbling building was always rented to women who looked after each other. Currently living there in fusty grandeur are Evangeline, a stately octogenarian novelist; Anna, a 40-ish free spirit working as a theatrical mime; and Holly, a teenage runaway from a Liverpudlian hovel. The women's status as renters is imperiled when their dwelling is bought by prosperous Maximo Tonelli, ethnically flashy owner of Villa Neapolitana, the mansion across the road, originally a mirror image of Shangri-la. Tonelli invades their lives, carries on a mutually gratifying sensual love affair with Anna, and threatens to convert the old house into a casino after he has evicted them. The two households become entwined, but not in the way Tonelli envisaged. Lingard ( Sisters by Rite ), who lives in Scotland, illuminates the theme of sisterhood with quiet authority. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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