BEHEADED, SURVIVED by Barbara Williams


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Jane, 14, and Lowell, 16, make strides toward solving their various problems during a three-week summer literary tour of England for teen-agers. The principal narrator, Jane, is shy and quiet; she is trying to conceal the fact that she has diabetes and must follow a strict regimen. Her other problem is her flamboyant, domineering older sister, Courtney, also on the tour. Lowell's troubles are more disturbing: his mother has recently died of cancer; while Lowell cared for her, his father had an affair with Chris, with whom he is now honeymooning. Alternate chapters consist of fragments of unsent letters Lowell writes to ""Jill"" (his mother) and others, only gradually revealing the cause of his depression and his emergence from it. Because Jane and Lowell discover each other, they count themselves among the survivors in the mnemonic for the wives of Henry VIII quoted in the title. Jane and Lowell are a believable pair; readers should find their romance satisfying. Other characters, especially bossy, unsympathetic Courtney, are more broadly sketched, and Lowell's recovery from his overwhelming problems is implausibly abrupt. The literary connections are authentic; Williams touches on them lightly but makes them interesting. Competent and entertaining, although reminiscent of simplistic TV drama.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 158pp
Publisher: Watts