THE BEST OF ENEMIES by Nancy Bond

THE BEST OF ENEMIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In A String in the Harp, an unhappy American boy in Wales is taken back to the time of Taliesen; but here, the redcoats that twelve-year-old Charlotte sees popping up around Concord, Massachusetts, just before the annual Patriots' Day celebration are not visitors from 1775 but contemporary Britishers, recruited by a Scottish captain to re-enact the Revolutionary battle as part of a longstanding competition with his American WW II buddy. Charlotte's story moves slowly, concentrating on her friendlessness at school, her resentments about being the left-behind youngest at home, and her dependence on brother Eliot, 24, to whose projected departure for graduate school in the West she overreacts as if to a deep betrayal. Too little happens while Charlotte's excessive self pity is demonstrated and her well-off, model family's grooviness established--from their warm togetherness, artistic talents, and gourmet tastes (lamb curry with butter and thyme?) right down to the names of their cats Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. Then Charlotte becomes involved in the developing war games, and there are complications (hostages on both sides who refuse to be liberated) which would have been funnier if handled with a lighter touch. By the day of the celebration--and a climactic snowball fight that unites parading Minutemen, resisting British, and idle spectators against the police, then embraces even the police in the general camaraderie--Charlotte has made friends her age and regretfully accepted Eliot's independence. But both the battle and the adjustment have been such a long time coming that neither seems quite worth the wait.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1978
Publisher: Atheneum