The Variety Artistes

Tom Wakefield, Author Serpent's Tail $10.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-85242-138-0
Like Lydia Poulton, the winning protagonist of his humorous, shrewd novel, Wakefield ( Forties' Child ) possesses a capacious vision. A sensible, mildly dissatisfied London widow, Lydia adores romance novels, douses herself with Lily of the Valley cologne and spends weekends with her two adult children and their families. But then, at a ``Know Your City'' class for senior citizens, she meets Benny Handley; their loving, passionate friendship renews Lydia and deeply disturbs her meddling children. When Benny dies and Lydia inherits his property, the children make a ``magnanimous'' conciliatory gesture and send her on a vacation to North Africa, where she teams up with Avril Macey, a vivacious American. The women avoid the travel-book route, exploring marketplaces, dining with fishermen, and pretending to be a retired sister-actress duo. Lydia is a free spirit, impatiently dismissing those who patronize the elderly. An array of adventures and captivating minor characters make this a joy to read. Throughout, Wakefield celebrates affection, kindness and individuality at any age. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
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