THE THIRD CHOICE by Elizabeth Janeway
Kirkus Star


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The story of a search into the human heart told on two levels of characterization, in two generations reach of time. Using a frame which might have resulted in artificialty, Mrs. Janeway has succeeded in bringing to life two women:- an elderly autocrat, accustomed to admiration, obedience to her whims, acceptance of her authority, and now held in the vise of physical immobility- Mrs. Belchamber; and her niece, Lorraine de Koning, whose proper husband, Herbert, was able to reduce her to terror by his scathing criticism of her inadequacies. Aunt Di's invalidism- after a life filled to overflowing, brought the two women to a crisis -- the one needing desperately to find, in her past, foundations for an unacceptable present; the other needing as desperately a pattern for a future in which she held control. A third factor in the person of young Dr. Savage, self made and still carrying the chip of his slum background, his social inadequacies. He succeeds in rousing his patient's violent anger, in disturbing the surface of calm of the niece, and losing his own somewhat uncontrolled temper- but the whole imbroglio provides a springboard for each of them. Aunt Di's story is told largely in a notebook she fills with the outpouring of her own odyssey of fifty years; Lorraine grows up through her new found passion and finds that she can make decisions on a mature level. It is an absorbing study of personalities- of unexpected parallels- of growth, the whole told more through the unfolding of though and emotion than through action, thought the action carries them from New York and New England to London and the continent, and spans half a century and two wars. A provocative choice of the Book-of-the-Month.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday