Saving Damaris

Laura Leonard, Author Atheneum Books $14.95 (198p) ISBN 978-0-689-31553-4
Ever since Abby was a little girl, her father has roamed the West, trying to get good jobs. Even when Abby's mother dies, her father neither returns for the funeral nor offers to take care of the family. Meanwhile, Abby's beautiful sister Damaris has caught the eye of Mr. Buttchenbacher, a wealthy but disagreeable older man, and she is willing to enter into a marriage of convenience in order to provide for her family. Abby tries to interfere with Damaris's plans, but the older girl breaks the engagement herself when she learns that her fiance's plans for her siblings include sending Abby out to work as a maid. The novel ends on what is supposed to be a happy note: the children are sent to San Francisco to join their father. However, it is unclear why they should expect a warm welcome from a man who has shown little concern for them in the past. Perhaps that is only a small leap of faith for a novel which can take in stride such oddities as an anonymous letter with a return address on the envelope. Those readers who plow through this first novel's bland writing and one-dimensional characters in hopes of discovering the truth about Abby's father, or of witnessing a believable reconciliation, will be disappointed. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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