A CHILD DIVIDED by Henry Cecil


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The long arm of the law is wrenched this time to cover not crime, but the legal rights and human considerations in an adoption case, and it's as ticklish and susceptible a story as it was long ago when Solomon handed down his decision. Eleanor West gives away the baby, Hugh, she has out of wedlock when her lover, Randolph West, is sentenced (unjustly) to a long prison term for his presumptive assault on and murder of a young boy. The baby is given to a deserving, loving couple, although the Judge hearing the adoption proceedings shortcuts the necessity of securing the putative father's consent. When Randolph West is released from jail after he is cleared, he is anxious to marry Eleanor and secure the child to whom he is equally, even if absently, devoted. Psychiatrists provide their opinion on the effect the second displacement will have on young Hugh, but it is the Judge who must render a verdict which will do the least harm to the many involved... Cecil's handling of the case is as sharp as a safety pin and there is humor as well as implicit tragedy, intelligence as well as reason.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1965
Publisher: Harper & Row