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 Predictable, formulaic wartime romance between a poor Jewish nobody girl who falls in love with a wealthy New York Wasp. Aspiring interior-decorator Betsy Bernstein, bearing swatches to the home of socialite Alice Forrest, meets and falls in love with her son, James Paul Forrest III (a Tyrone Power look-alike). Pearl Harbor is bombed, and Paul enlists, for no better reason than to escape his ``rarefied world.'' As Paul and Betsy make love, ``I'll Never Smile Again'' plays on the phonograph (``If anything happened to Paul...she'd never smile again''): clearly, he isn't coming home. Ignoring his mother's anti-Semitic hysteria, Paul marries the pregnant Betsy and ships out. On the homefront, Betsy has her own battle: ``deeply conscious of her Jewishness,'' she wants little Jimmy to grow up knowing that Hanukkah is ``a very happy holiday.'' But Alice, a ``well-coiffed'' nervous wreck, wants her grandson to travel: Southampton, Palm Beach, and heaven (``I couldn't bear it if Jimmy wasn't there''). Instead, Paul ends up in heaven while his best friend Doug Golden (a nice Jewish boy) who has--wonder of wonders--survived his plane going down in flames, turns up, postwar, in a Manhattan bar. Two hearts beat as one; Betsy smiles again; memories of Paul (``a boy-girl love'') presumably fade. No surprises from the author of Loyalties, No Greater Love, etc. A superficial, ho-hum treatment of a familiar scenario.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-399-13738-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1992


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