WARM ON A COLD NIGHT by G. E. Lapington


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Trombone sentiment, with rather a lively beat, accompanies this sad song about Bella, a cheeky English sparrow whose WW II days are a symphony of bad luck and broken dreams. During those days, Bella--beautiful, tough, with a piledriver sense of humor--wants out of her marriage to Leslie Rigby, father of ""our Rita"" and ""our Ronnie."" Leslie's in the RAF and not home much, and Bella's been planning an escape from rotten streets and mean digs for some time. But meanwhile, the goodtime girls--Bella and best chum June, both 32--do the pubs, sometimes joined by their American lovers, Chuck and Bill, who are generous with commissary goods. They also play about with money and jobs: a lifted wallet from one of June's quickie pick-ups boosts Bella from a laundry job to desk work at the Town Hall, where she's the belle of the office, selling stolen curtains and generating pocket lolly with shady deals and silly sex. Then, however, Bella becomes pregnant by Chuck, tells Leslie (who blacks her eyes), and eventually gives up the baby for adoption. And her dreams of life in America fade when it's obvious that Chuck, imprisoned for theft and shipped back to the States, has dumped her. So, after a terrible crippling accident, Bella carefully makes up her face as if she were going to a pub with June. . . and commits suicide. The focus then shifts to 16-year-old daughter Rita, fighting her way to an acting career, knocking off wolves and unsuitable suitors along the way. And finally she makes it to America with a second-rate British company, finds June in California (!), and even pays a debt to Mum by looking up Chuck and giving him quite a turn. Oh, it's a flamin' weeper, but the Bella talk rings true as a clash of cutlery at the pub--and overall it's ripe British entertainment, lower-middle-class style.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's