Sometimes Paradise

Judith H. Green, Author Alfred A. Knopf $17.95 (271p) ISBN 978-0-394-52922-6
In this absorbing novel, Green (Winners takes a serious, provocative look at the sordid realities that lie beneath the genteel exterior of Palm Beach, as she depicts the hypocrisy, anti-Semitism, and pretentiousness encountered by a native newcomer to that social milieu. Orphaned Loretta Worship is reared in Florida by a fraudulent Baptist preacher who gives the child his outlandish surname, plus many unnerving memories. A mercenary, hot-tempered scoundrel, he exploits Loretta by parading her on stage during his grotesque ""Miracle Masses.'' After he molests her, Loretta heads for Virginia where she becomes a nurse whose most renowned patient is tycoon H. W. ``Chukker'' Dunbar. When they marry, however, Loretta feels like a gauche trespasser in Dunbar's cultured world. Her insecurity mingles with outrage when they settle in Palm Beach, where she observes blatant discrimination against blacks and Jews, who are barred from many private clubs. Aided by her journalist stepson, Loretta tries to rectify these injustices, while an irate Palm Beach citizen schemes to disrupt her crusade. Loretta's transformation into a high society maverick is painstakingly rendered, as are the lifestyles and attitudes of the very affluent. Further distinguished by incisive character portrayals and a strong moral message, the novel makes a memorable impact. (May 21)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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