Breaking Gentle

Beverly Lowry, Author Viking Books $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-82245-4
Lowry's fourth novel features well-educated, attractive Hale and Diana Caldwell, who live in the Texas hill country where Hale breeds and trains racing quarterhorses and Diana gardens assiduously. Dynamic and well-organized as the Caldwells appear to be, their family life is in acute crisis. Their son Roger has dropped out of college and works as a cook in California; daughter Bethany is on probation in a residential program for teenagers, having participated in a car theft. Hale's business is overextended, and he is drinking heavily. Diana, her academic career and extramarital affairs equally unsuccessful, is painfully conscious that she and Hale have failed to become the perfect parents they set out to be. In clear, measured prose Lowry copiously and meticulously describes the Caldwells gardening, cooking and caring for their horses, but this contributes little to our understanding and becomes tiresome. There are good sketches of minor characters, lifelike dialogue and a gripping conclusionbut the reader's interest is seized too late, and the final drama does not substitute for lack of depth, coherence or a commanding voice. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-014772-8
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