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Gladys Schmitt has established her place among today's novelists whose work cannot be pigeon-holed She has given us two really significant historical novels, in David the King and Confessors of the Name. She has given us a novel that one might dislike but could not ignore, The Gates of Aulis. And now in this, which some will feel is slight and unpretentious in comparison with her earlier work, she has written that rare thing, a novel dealing with the complexities of marriage and divorce, and of a passion that seeks to destroy what it cannot possess. John Reiber, a musician, making a competent living with a record business, has sought for six years to crase the image of Helen Cameron, whom he had loved and thought loved him in return. But she married Harold Beales, a man of her own social class, and bore him a child, the one thing she cherished from a marriage she came to loathe. Then John and Helen meet again- through the instrumentality of the mother who had engineered the unhappy marriage. The Cameron money was gone. They were living in crowded quarters, on the pittance Harold allowed for his child, and on what Helen earned. But the old pride was there, and Helen - scarred she felt irreparably by the violence and cruelty of her marriage, wanted only what John could give in love and security. How John broke through her walls of resistance to feeling again -- and then could not overcome his own persistent resentment of little Sissy, because of her resemblance to Harold- makes for a pattern of ""pull devil, pull baker"" until Harold walks out of the past and forces John into facing relative values. The story is not an obsessive one, but Gladys Schmitt draws depths of meaning from below the surface situations, and makes the reader fully cognizant of the levels of emotion involved therein.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1955
Publisher: Dial