DEAR ONES ALL by Jean Rikhoff
Kirkus Star


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Dear Ones All"" is Lydia Trimble's traditional toast to her five daughters and their husbands when they make an infrequent return to the home of their childhood- a large, Victorian house in the middle west. It is also an illusion, adamantly sustained, in a household where Lydia, both as a wife and a mother, officiated out of duty rather than love along firm lines of sobriety, propriety and cleanliness. So that while Frank Trimble, during his life, recognized the default of his marriage, so the Trimble girls- who were never ""just one big happy family"" together, grew up, married, and led lives of further lovelessness and loneliness. This is, individually, a review of what followed. Ada, the least loved, the ""ugly one"" and the eldest, who even on her mother's deathbed tried to extract the love she had never been given, was also denied it by the husband she loathed and her child; Iris, with an improvident husband and three children, became a drudge and took in roomers; Frances, fashionable and pleasure-loving, ended by boring the husband who never attracted her physically; Esther, who made the only marriage in which passion was reciprocal, was soon widowed and directed her sexual energy into accumulating money, to the point of robbing a dead aunt's body before it was cold and taking her sister's inheritance; Organdy, the youngest and the best loved, made a miserable marriage which she tried to escape- first through a love affair, and then through suicide.... A first novel, this is a very lifelike view of the inanition of relationships behind a seemingly solid domestic front; of marriages enduring on anything from passive indifference to active distaste; on the great deception of tribal togetherness. It is to Miss Rikhoff's credit that she could sustain this extensive portrait of hapless people at such length without sacrificing any interest in or sympathy for those concerned.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1960
ISBN: 0595146406
Publisher: Viking