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A gentle, seemingly unexceptional but quite astute story of a marriage which subsisted on romantic wishfulness, acceptance and avoidance--that of Marion, just an English schoolgirl when she fell in love with Johnny Hartman, a ""Yank,"" who epitomized her made-in-America dream of a better, brighter world than Henley-on-Thames. After the war naive (unlike her closest friend Angela, one of those plummy blondes) Marion gets a chance to go to New York to see Johnny and marry him, for the first time, in front of a slot machine in a Village bar. The marriage becomes official some time later and on and off, backward and forward through the years (Miss Freeman tells her story in that fashion) she confronts, consciousness lowered and eyes averted, the facts of his overbearing mother, his adulteries with older women (one of them will take you as well as Marion unawares), and their divided views over their children from the choice of a name to his impossible, destructive achievement test for his son on the playing field of our great American game. This is Gillian Freeman's most accessible novel (cf., The Leader; The Alabaster Egg, etc.)--chipping away at lives and lifestyles while essentially talking about many of the things which will be more assertively articulated in the next decade, without even mentioning the word liberation. Cookie-cut innocents like Marion probably don't exist anymore, but many women who temporized will remember her, and make a sympathetic identification.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1975
Publisher: Stein & Day