THE LAST ROMANTIC by Dorothea Buske


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A murmurous, nostalgic re-run of the granny of all True Romances: beloved friend steals one's beloved. Martha first meets Celia, an educated-in-France orphan, in 1927 at the posh Severn School; and thus begin the years of Martha's obsessive devotion to lovely self-possessed Celia, whose cool facade hides her ambitions for a career of rapture as an artist and passionate woman. By the time the Depression hits and wipes out Martha's family fortune, Celia has done the deed: she has married Austen, Martha's childhood soulmate. Self-sacrificing Martha carries a torch, of course, but she watches with grief as Celia, still hitting the rapture trail, dumps Austen, pursues her art, sacrifices all for an unemployed writer who dies of TB, and then dies herself. Eventually Austen, emerging from his years of astringent suffering, proposes to Martha, the ""kid next door."" Although Celia never registers as the charismatic figure she's proclaimed to be, the author is faithful to the times--from the pre-Depression whirling suburban social circles to the anxiously whispered tallies of the Depression. Here's one for the chaise longue and the bunny slippers.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's