Well-insulated from an outside world riddled by war, the children of a history professor romp through the campus of a Massachusetts private school and develop special friendships that will last for years to come. By the author of Dear Family.
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Like Bittle's last (Dear Family, 1991), a refreshingly cleareyed journey back to family life in a small Massachusetts town (here, a prep-school complex), beginning in the 1930's: simply life as it was lived by generally good and civil New Englanders, whose domestic maelstroms are contained and private--until passions subside with time and good sense. John Richards, apparently destined to languish as a farm laborer on the rocky fields of New Hampshire, graduated from Harvard in 1921--thanks to Elliot Dwire, a young trustee of the Harrison school for disadvantaged boys. Gladly, then, John toiled in the Dwires' Cambridge house, married Grace, and moved back to the Harrison school to teach history. His heart ever full of gratitude, with Grace dutifully, publicly, hospitable, John forever welcomed into his household anytime she wished--and she wished regularly--the exquisite Alice, widow of Elliot. To John's three children ``Aunt Alice,'' the sleek, elegant visitor, was genteelly poor and a sponger of virtuoso ability--yet with a charm that will endure into old age. The years bring tragedy and gentle pleasures to the two children of Aunt Alice and the Richardses; a terrible legacy from gypsy wayfarers; war deaths, odd marriages, a drab affair; plus one love wrenchingly lost, and another gained. Finally, the lives of two fine people, Grace and John, fold quietly into a twilight of peaceful acceptance, while the devastating changes are muffled by time and the insistent pulse of generations. A modest family story about solid folk both in calm and calamity--people you'll feel you've known always. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
In a modest, chatty tone, Bittle ( Dear Family ) chronicles the interwoven lives of two very different families from the 1930s through the 1950s. History professor John Richards, his wife Grace and their children--Eleanor, Will and Jane--enjoy cozy, active lives on the campus of Massachusetts's Harrison School, punctuated by lively interruptions from widowed Alice Dwire, whose husband helped the impoverished John get an education, and her children Sissy and Harold. Alice manages to live well by imposing regularly on the Richards--as Grace says, "Alice floats on the top . . . borne up by everybody else"--and her children also tend to patronize the family. The narrative is crammed with events, beginning with Jane contracting polio and including Harold and Will serving in WW II, various marriages, births, deaths, affairs and trips to New York and Europe. Life just goes on and on and on in Bittle's leisurely tale. The trite moral--that money can't buy happiness--is undermined by the Richards' meek acceptance of the Dwires' high-handed behavior. Welcome personality changes in some of the characters slightly redeem an otherwise humdrum work.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312104642
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312104642