SWAPPING by Shirley & Angela Ince Lowe


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Another from the Lowe/Ince team (All About Camilla, 1986): a pleasing bit of fluff about two Englishwomen, Felicia Harman and Ann Forester-Jones, who find fulfillment by trading lives. Ann, a dowdy Wiltshire housewife--with about ten extra pounds around her middle, three rambunctious children, and shelves of homemade preserves--gives it all up when, one fine night, her husband brings Felicia home: They're in love, he tells her. Working from Felicia and Ann's intertwined viewpoints, the authors describe how the two women fare--Felicia, a former actress, negotiating around Ann's hostile kids and incontinent dogs; and Ann moving into a handsome London flat with Felicia's husband, Donald. Through Don, Ann works into the PR trade, which she abandoned years ago to marry Antony. Meanwhile, Fellcia civilizes the Forester-Jones brood and finds that ""the country Felicia [is] a distinct improvement on the old London model."" As the two settle back into each other's styles, though, they hit familiar pitfalls: Fellcia learns that Antony is playing around, and Ann's new-found freedom leads to un-flattering excesses and unhappiness. Finally, Felicia decides that it's the men who are at fault, chiefly for molding their women according to their tastes, and then tiring of their Pygmalions. So, in the end, the men get their comeuppance. Contrived and likely to make feminists gag; but for less demanding readers, a busy and clever pasttime.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1988
Publisher: Little, Brown