DIFFERENT FAMILIES by Alison Scott Skelton

DIFFERENT FAMILIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A summery, undemanding spin-off from all those White-Cliffs-of-Dover nostalgic tributes to WW II romance--as Skelton examines clinkers and still-glowing coals in a failed American/English marriage 20 years later. Robert Zolenski, a gardener's son from Long Island who joins the RAF, and Philippa Hallsworth of Greenshaws Hall, a handsome blonde toff-ette (divine in her WAAF uniform), rather know they'll marry in a London underground during a raid. They do, although Philippa's family is appalled. But two children are born before Robert, knowing he'll never make the grade in the Hall--where the lot have ""drinkies,"" the dogs have ""walkies,"" and Americans are non-U--leaves and triggers a divorce. Two decades later: it's the 1960s, and Robert, now a successful writer of spy adventures, is at his Long-Island-shore home with young mistress Mary Jo, visiting son David (who's got the hots for Mary Jo), visiting homosexual actor Paul, and Paul's dreadful friend Steve--a thug who has convinced David to join up for Nam. Meanwhile, Philippa in England is married to dull Andrew, despised by both daughter Victoria (hip, pregnant, non-conforming) and David (who doesn't want to go to Cambridge). So--over the sea comes Philippa to nip David back in the fold. (Paul: ""Oh dear God. It's Mrs. Miniver."") And, amid flashbacks between the Forties and Sixties, it all levels out nicely: Victoria becomes a mother and dutiful wife; David is heading for Cambridge (with Mary Jo and Robert's blessing); and the divorced parents get a few last sparks from that old affair. Easy, breezy, with just a few bubbles of suds showing up here and there--a smooth glide into a cinematic past of Greer Garson and Ronald C.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1980
Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Harper & Row