Pearl

Tabitha King, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-453-00626-2
When the admirable heroine of the title, a 35-year-old black woman, arrives in Nodd's Ridge, Maine, to live in the farmhouse bequeathed her by an unknown uncle, local residents gossip a little behind her back, but otherwise do not respond to her color. Having abandoned her career as librarian, Pearl Dickenson takes over the local diner, and with her deep, throaty laugh and indomitable spirit (not to mention her fried chicken), wins the hearts of both Reuben Styles, who runs the local garage, and David Christopher, the town's resident poet. As summer progresses, Pearl is happy to find her life weaving seamlessly into the daily fabric of Nodd's Ridge, but the dilemma caused by her liaisons with both Reuben and David takes its toll. As Pearl helps Reuben cope with his wild teenaged daughter, David's past, which includes witnessing the shooting death of his young sister, makes him increasingly unstable. Occasionally slipping into melodrama, King (author of Small World and The Trap and wife of novelist Stephen) resolves her story happily for nearly all of the small-town characters she brings vividly to life. Pearl's quiet wisdom and prodigious energy make her slightly more mythic than human, but she remains an unforgettable character. Literary Guild alternate. (November)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 48 pages - 978-0-451-16262-5
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