NIGHT MAGIC by Charlotte Vale Allen


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It seems that everyone's cashing in on the current fascination for the old Beauty and the Beast tale--from prime-time TV to Allen. Her 26th novel is a kind of Phantom of the Opera meets baby lust, chronicling the marriage of a sweet Connecticut girl--who wants kids--to a young man with a woefully disfigured face, which he hides in a black cape. She's 16-year-old Marisa Crane, of Darien, raised, after her mother's death, by her father and a feisty housekeeper named Kitty. When dad decides to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms, he contracts the reclusive but extraordinarily gifted architect Eric D'Anton, and thus the star-crossed guy and girl meet. Marisa takes to Eric like a shot, hideous face and all; Eric, who lives with a troubled Vietnam vet and architectural gofer, Raskin, remains conflicted--until Marisa's father dies suddenly of a weak heart. They marry, then retire to Eric's place on an island, while Kitty takes up with Raskin. All would be well, though, were it not for the couple's disagreement over parenting: "I will never put a child into this world to know the humiliation and horrors I've known," Eric exclaims. Marisa "accidentally" goes to bed with her husband after her diaphragm's been removed, flirts with a commuting Casanova on the way into New York, then runs away to London in her shame. Eric follows; boy gets girl back; baby in the works; fade. . . A surprising clunker from an old pro--an embarrassing mÇlange of insoluble ingredients, leaving readers to wonder, above all, why Eric would have agreed to do a bathroom.

ISBN: 689-11884-8
Publisher: Atheneum
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