Other Lives

Sarah Woodhouse, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-15185-0
""Are mothers never to be allowed private lives?"" So wonders Lucy Flecker, a 63-year-old grandmother who has inherited a house on the Greek coast from noted archeologist Oliver Lussom. Her grown children, wildly curious, demand to know how Lucy knew him and just what she plans to do with it. Each of them has problems that require her attention: Christopher has left his wife; Bernadette is considering the priesthood; and professor Alan still chases schoolgirls. But Lucy has plans of her own; she decides to leave her Cambridge home to return to Greece, where, at age 19, she enjoyed a brief summer affair with Oliver, her father's colleague. Alternating chapters trace the stages of her journey and scenes of the liaison that ended at Oliver's insistence. Following her return to England, their correspondence provides some of the few moments in which Lucy lives a separate life from her public role as wife and mother. Lucy's journey back to Greece forces her children into a better understanding of their mother as an individual, and helps them to resolve their problems on their own. Woodhouse (Meeting Lily) has written a nicely structured novel with good dialogue and a few notable characters. Aside from a few brief lines, however, the humorous slant of the opening page and the energy of the first chapters are not sustained, and several of the somewhat interchangeable characters seem superfluous. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997
Release date: 02/01/1997
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-7089-8972-2
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