cover image L.C.


Susan Daitch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $17.95 (284pp) ISBN 978-0-15-149280-0

An impassioned, densely written political novel with feminist overtones, L.C. refers to Lucienne Crozier, a bourgeois Frenchwoman living in the 19th century. Lucienne keeps a diary in which she records her failed marriage, her love affair with the artist Eugene Delacroix (who paints her as the ""Woman in Moroccan Costume'') and, above all, her fighting on the barricades in the Revolution of 1848. Lucienne flees to Algiers with a companion and dies there of consumption. The diary survives and passes to several owners, including the American pedant, Dr. Willa Rehnfield, who fussily annotates it. But L.C.'s diary, like her life, resonates with fresh significance when it falls into the hands of Willa's assistant, a student who calls herself Jane Amme. As a revolutionary and a participant in the Berkeley riots of 1968, Jane discovers ``Lucienne's story and mine run in tandem, then mine keeps going where hers leaves off.'' Both Lucienne and Jane are keenly aware of women's oppression. This first novel, in which fiction and history intertwine, plods doggedly at times. In its favor is the author's meticulous documentary approach to two cultures, French and American, in the throes of parallel events. (September 28)