The Summer Woods

Margaret Morley, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-340-51871-7
Moving from the 1920s to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Morley's predictable but sometimes moving novel follows three generations of Irish Catholic women as they transform themselves from passive and obedient to determined and independent. Trapped between her demanding mother and the man she was forced to marry, Maureen Walsh's only satisfaction comes from her job at a five-and-dime in Cambridge, Mass., where an affair with her boss results in the birth of a daughter, Kathleen. She, in turn, has twins out of wedlock at 16, fathered by her childhood sweetheart, who is presumed dead in WW II. Leaving the twins in her mother's care, Kathleen goes to New York, where she marries a playwright, and with his encouragement becomes an actress. Eventually, Maureen emerges as a shrewd, creative business woman; after many heartaches, Kathleen also takes charge of her life. Coming of age in the '60s, her daughters follow suit. Morley provides colorful though only incidental period details, from the advent of frozen peas to the sounds of Chubby Checker, and a standard cast of gossipy neighbors, Broadway actors and Hollywood moguls. Heavy use of foreshadowing burdens the plot, but the women's perserverance still seems a triumph. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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