by John McIlvain ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 25, 1983
Elegant and silky suds indeed: porcelain and passion in the rich man's Palm Beach, Florida, from the Fifties to the present. Christine Davenport, 22, pregnant, and widowed, was born into the humbler strata of Palm Beach--both parents were hotel workers--while husband Jack (a Korea casualty) came forth from the gilded portals of an established Palm Beach ""set."" So, after the birth of daughter Kate, Christine is invited to Christmas Eve at ""Casa Concordia"" and taken under the plumed wing of Jack's aunt Elizabeth Deloge. . . who learned early to ""create, control, or orchestrate the beautiful. . . . Her Renoir helped her sleep better, so did the thought of her diamonds."" Christine and Kate--whom the charmed Elizabeth grandmothers--move in; Christine becomes a kind of executive secretary for the Deloge charitable foundations; she's admired by Jack's brother Sandy (tiresomely married). But Christine has locked up her heart. . . until the night of Elizabeth's 70th birthday party--when the guest list includes J. F. Dulles, the Windsors (""They had become tough, a small, shrunken kind of tough""), and, for a change of social pace: Harry Levigne, a dry-cleaner's son who--via Eastern schools and Episcopalianism--has graduated to money-making schemes, messy marriages, and bed-hopping. Christine falls for Harry; before the ball is over, the pair are at it on a fur robe in the Rolls. Elizabeth, however, will succeed in breaking up the torrid affair with a bribe. And Christine, though furious and broken-hearted, ices-in as years pass, has a calm affair with European Hubert, then takes the plunge with painter Sandy--in his studio, in a powder room. Eventually senile Elizabeth will die, appropriately laid out (""If we are going to die,"" she once said, ""let us do it in a Saint Laurent""); Sandy and Christine will marry; and there's a final confrontation with Harry and Christine and Kate (whose diaper-to-post-college career has been followed). A season in the sun with the gardenia-and-icy-martini set--smooth and mildly perfumed.
Pub Date: April 25, 1983
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983
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