RISING DAMP by Barbara Corcoran


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Like so many of Corcoran's heroines, 15-year-old Hope is the more-or-less castoff kid of respectable but indifferent parents, hers are totally involved in their separate careers and consider her a troublesome nuisance to be tucked away at camps and boarding schools. And like so many of Corcoran's novels, this takes its heroine to foreign soil for a bittersweet encounter and an ultimately reinforcing experience. Here Hope is sent off for a summer month in a thatched-roof Irish cottage, in the care of her mother's assistant Eileen who has just been jilted by the man she'd hoped to share the cottage with. Neither traveler is happy with the situation; but Eileen is pleasantly distracted by the attentions of their charming, widowed Irish landlord, and Hope meets Kol, a gypsy boy who suggests returning to America with her. . . but first he'll need her $500.00 for the air fare. Hope hands it over anti makes plans to meet Kol, but next day the gypsies vanish--and Kol with them. Hope, abandoned again, hates herself for having trusted. Kol is cleared in the end, when he sneaks back with partial repayment, the promise of more, and a note explaining that his uncles had found and taken the money. Meanwhile, though, cold messages from Hope's parents plus her evident misery over Kol's seeming betrayal win Eileen's sympathy for the undemonstrative young girl. The real outcome of the episode, then, is a bond between the two women, who now decide to leave the cottage and spend the remainder of their month in Dublin. Like most of Corcoran's characters these are none too rounded. (Kol's behavior, especially when he's found not guilty, is inexplicable.) But she brings the principals together with her usual good grace, and the Irish background contributes the usual overlay of travelogue romance.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum