The Mother Load

Cindy Packard, Author Atheneum Books $15.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-689-11577-6
This attempt at comedy, with its illogical contortions of fate and unmemorable eccentrics at every turn, is more forced than funny. When wildlife photographer Orin Delaney dies on the horns of an African rhino, her bereaved husband Sean, a screen idol, takes first to his bed and then to the beds of a succession of starlets. No au pair will brave taking care of his four children (among them a born-again proselytizer and a malicious vivisectionist), so 13-year-old Mallory must raise her difficult brood of siblings herself. At 20 she makes a run for itinitially to a career on the stage, which proves no more inviting than home, then to marriage to Travis, a horror story author. But his mansion, with its treacherous secret chambers, a pet wolf, and a vituperative father-in-law, plus a surprise visit from her family and one adulterous afternoon, soon have Mallory out on her own again. Audrey, a batty old lady employing Mallory as companion, reunites husband and wife, to the relief of both. But the solution to their incompatibilities remains obscure, a fairly typical trait of this novel that leaves an array of loose ends. January 15
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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