Lovers and Sinners

Linda Sole, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-05466-3
While in many respects a conventional romance, this rags-to-riches story of a poor, provincial girl who finds fame in London expertly recreates the mood and feel of post-World War II England. Teenaged Betty Cantrel is hired as a companion for Frances Crawley, the sickly, spoiled daughter of a wealthy local landowner. Their privileged life at the Willows--a far cry from Betty's small cottage-- seems almost magical compared with the austerity the rest of England is enduring. Little more than a maid at first, Betty gradually becomes privy to the Crawleys' secrets--some of which are quite disturbing--though not quite a member of the family. She falls in love with Frances's cousin Nathan, a devastatingly handsome, emotionally scarred war veteran. Later, when most of her family dies in a diphtheria epidemic, she she moves to London, where she reencounters Nathan and begins a third chapter of her life: Nathan finds her a job as a nightclub singer, and she is catapulted to fame. But their passionate relationship, marked by violence and betrayal, leads to a tragic end, foreshadowed from the novel's start. The author's detailed observations of this period and of the euphoric release of emotions just after the war add resonance to this nicely textured love story. Sole has published 17 previous novels under pseudonyms. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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