GIRL FROM THE SOUTH

Joanna Trollope, Author . Viking $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-03097-2

An admired English author of wryly intelligent family dramas, Trollope has never enjoyed a particularly wide American readership. This very likable novel, which features a protagonist from South Carolina involved with an English visitor, might change that. It even offers the notion that American family traditions, particularly Southern ones, offer a stability that contemporary English relationships often lack. Gillon Stokes is the odd girl out in her tradition-bound Charleston family, and when she goes to London on a typically whimsical impulse to pursue art research, she catches the eye of nature photographer Henry. When she casually invites him back home for a visit, Henry is charmed by the same folkways that Gillon finds so stifling, and he soon becomes so much part of her family that he begins turning their sense of themselves and each other upside down. Back in London, Henry's girlfriend, Tilly, is having problems keeping his friend William at bay, and discovers that she cares more than she expected she would about Henry's defection. The contrast between the casual, rootless Londoners and the rather rigid, assured Southerners is deliciously pointed, and Trollope (The Best of Friends, etc.) offers two splendid scenes of very different mothers and daughters coming to terms with their dissimilarities. This is subtle, delicate entertainment that skillfully avoids romantic cliché while offering a group of believably quirky characters learning to adjust to new maturity. National advertising. (June 4)

Forecast:The book's quality and American settings could finally bring Trollope the U.S. readership she deserves. It's an ideal title for reading clubs and sales will be bolstered by a 10-city author tour.

Reviewed on: 04/15/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-7475-5952-8
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