Poor Dear Charlotte

Anabel Donald, Author Mercury House $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916515-32-4
The adjectives of the title soon become inappropriate to Charlotte, a bright, pretty teacher at the provincial Ashcombe College for Ladies. Raised by a sadistic father, Charlotte is afraid of men until she chaperones a trip to Russia and discovers on shipboard the charms of masculine attention. In fact, she falls rather sappily in love with the new headmaster and, undeterred by his noisy wife and her admonitory colleagues, lets him undress her in a closet where they are spied upon and reported by a high-minded history professor. Charlotte, unprotesting, gets the sack and walks out into the world, bent on reunion with her mother and brother, from whom she's been estranged for 18 years. Despite extraneous unfleshed minor characters and some contrived circumstances, the novel until this point is satisfying. But when Charlotte goes to work for her brother, a slick record producer/impresario, meanwhile ministering to a suicidal ex-student, the novel loses its grip on the reader's attention. The narrative tone chills and takes an unheralded direction, for which all the jive and sexiness of London's pop music scene do not compensate. Charlotte is far more appealing when she is poor and dear. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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