A Sensible Life

Mary Wesley, Author Viking Books $18.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-83338-2
Wesley's ( Not That Sort of Girl ; Second Fiddle ) most engaging and memorable novel so far, this finely nuanced story features an enchanting heroine, the social settings at which the British author excels and her usual keen observation of character. We first meet 10-year-old Flora Trevelyan in the Brittany resort town of Dinard in 1926. Shockingly neglected by her abysmally selfish parents, she is taken up by a group of British and Dutch vacationers, one of whom saves her from suicide when her parents sail for India and leave her on her own. Though resilient and perforce independent, Flora is naive and sexually innocent, but she knows she has fallen in love with all three of the adolescent males who have protected her. Five years later, visiting the family of one of the young men at its country home, Flora realizes that she is ``not the sort of girl'' who will be allowed to marry into the UC milieu to which she now ardently aspires. Wesley's take on the proper but callous behavior of the British upper classes is both savagely acute and quietly funny. The arch and somewhat brittle quality of her previous works is in little evidence; in its place is a poignancy that softens her social comedy into a deeper, more affecting genre. One hopes that this book will establish Wesley's reputation with discriminating readers here. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-552-77263-1
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-552-99393-7
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