Chantal

Yvone Lenard, Author Delacorte Press $18.95 (564p) ISBN 978-0-385-29783-7
This uneven saga spans 27 years, covers the globe and intertwines byzantine plots in a ponderous, improbable, yet at times engaging narrative. Chantal Arondel is an impressionable 17 when the Nazis invade France and she finds herself suddenly transporting a group of Jewish refugees to the Spanish border. She exchanges keepsakes with the group's leader, enigmatic Fred May, but later tries to forget him as she weds impoverished Count Renaud de Blazonac, bears a daughter, falls in love with his half-brother Anthenor and, after Renaud dies under suspicious circumstances, moves to Paris and lives a glamorous life under the German occupation. Fred's adventures, which continue to defy credulity, lead him to Spain, Brazil, America and finally Paris in 1945. Anthenor, a resistance hero, winds up in a Texas army hospital, where he weds an oil heiress who bears their son. The plot strands quiver with activity and are linked with some predictability to Hollywood in the late 1960s. This heavily burdened first novel nearly collapses under the weight of cliche-ridden dialogue and outrageously stereotyped characters. Yet the persistent reader will be rewarded with some engaging depictions of French country life and sharply humorous glimpses of Hollywood glitz. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-20741-2
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