FRIENDS AND ENEMIES by Kate Alexander

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another, less spunky WW II soap/romance from the British author of Fields of Battle (1981)--this time featuring beautiful young Christine Brookfield and her war-crossed love for a hunk of German masculinity. Christine meets gorgeous architecture-student Gunther on a ski vacation in 1938 Austria; passion blooms; despite Anglo-German tensions (and parental discomfort), Gunther is invited to visit the Brookfields' cozy manse . . . where virtuous Christine surrenders her all. (""She sobbed in ecstasy at the pleasure he bestowed on her with his magnificent body."") But when war breaks out, the lovers must say goodbye--each being reasonably patriotic--so each of them will find an alternate mate. WAAF Christine, whose two brothers both leap into battle (one wounded, one killed), weds Squadron Leader Larry Telford--who's not so hot in bed and who, after getting disastrously shot up, commits suicide (a wheelchair-dive through a window) rather than become a paralyzed, life-long burden to Christine. Meanwhile, Gunther of the Luftwaffe is hooking up with Elsa, ""that naughty, amoral purveyor of delicious sex""--whose general-father is a doomed plotter against Hitler. And after the war Christine, having gone through a guilty/promiscuous phase, heads for Berlin, where a gnarl of contrived melodrama ensues: she's kidnapped by a never-say-die super-Nazi (adulterous Elsa's sometime lover); Gunther runs to the rescue (""Let me hold you and keep you warm while I try to think of a way of getting you out of this prison my countrymen have put you in""); Gunther's wife Elsa is conveniently dispatched; and the lovers can get together al last, vowing to ""make a new world, a better world for our children to live in."" A competent, routine replay of WW II-soap clichÉs--heavy on B-movie dialogue (""You will be brave, my little love""), stock characters, and predictable plotting.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's