THE CAROUSEL by Belva Plain


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 Plain fans, wearied by too much moist suffering in her recent novels (Daybreak,, etc.), will be back on board for this jam-packed jamboree of familial potshots and haymakers. Plain lathers up a triple-threat melodrama here, all themes skillfully meshed: a dynasty row, a revenge marriage, and the horror of child molestation, with a murder to top it off. Sally and Dan are happily married and parents of a new baby and five-year-old Tina. But little Tina has suddenly become desperately unhappy, angry, and withdrawn. A psychiatrist states the unthinkable: Tina has been sexually molested, a diagnosis Dan refuses to believe. At the same time, Dan, a member of the powerful Grey family of Grey Foods (the major employer in his upstate New York town), is at odds with handsome cousin Ian, who wants to sell woodland acres for development. Lonely math-genius Clive, Ian's brother, is at first neutral, while Dan's sister Amanda in California plans to sue for what she believes is her fair share of Grey's. Meanwhile, patriarch Oliver Grey, holding court in his mansion, is serenely above the conflict. Although Ian opts for the buzz saw over natural beauty, he's heavily involved in an extramarital affair with natural beauty and shipping-clerk Roxanne. But when he refuses to leave his wife, Roxanne becomes furious and plans a coup: She'll pursue poor, ugly Clive, marry him, and settle accounts. Before the child molester is revealed, there'll be a shocking visit from Amanda, old scandals exhumed (in which an antique miniature carousel is featured), a change of alliances, and many shouting showdowns. Near the close a shot rings out... A loud, fast, and calamity-marked recreation, bound for the winner's circle in the pop stakes.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-31107-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995


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