MARY HALLAM by Susan Ertz


Email this review


This seems, on many counts, to be a rather amateurish performance for a tried novelist of Susan Ertz' standing, but the fact that it is a relatively wholesome love story, with an odd twist to it, will recommend it in many quarters. Critical judgment commends the smoothness of the style, but will question what seems the irrelevancies of the double plot. The line of development and the main one follows the story of Mary, English stepdaughter of an ambitious second wife, an American, and of the mutual hatred which poisons both lives. Mary's one romance had been nipped in the bud by her stepmother stealing her bau; this turns her against all normal relations with men. Then, into the picture comes her stepmother's childhood friend, Maud, over in London from Boston, and accompanied by a lifelong friend, Lowell, semi- invalid. They decide to take Mary with them to Paris, and there the emotional shock of discovering by accident, that there had been a secret passion in Maud's past -- plus the odd relationship in her present- upsets Mary's hardly won equilibrium, and she disappears. Down to her last funds, she is taken under the wing of a young English motor cyclist, who offers her a job back in England, taking care of his mother, who is a mental case. And so Mary accepts- and eventually they fall in love and are married. Even the war cannot disturb her newfound security- and at the end she takes her children to London to see their grandfather, now alone and ill. Again her path and Maud's cross, this time she can look at Maud's late marriage with serenity and understanding... Oddly old-fashioned despite an effort towards modernism.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1947
Publisher: Harper