FAMILY TIES by Syrell Rogovin Leahy


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Family ties indeed, yards and yards of them--as the drab romantic flights of Regina Friedmann (1917-47) are bulked out with the doings and sayings of parents, aunts and uncles, and seven cousins, plus Grandmama and Grandpapa Wolfe. The story begins with the wedding of Mortimer Rush to Regina's lovely Aunt Maude. But Maude will die after the birth of a deformed child (Family Secret I); distraught Mortimer will disappear; and Regina will fall in love with cousin Jerold. Then, however, in 1921 Paris, whom does Regina see sitting on a park bench but Uncle Mortimer! And soon it's love: ""the gap in their ages and experience had narrowed to practically nothing."" So, home again in Manhattan, whom will Regina marry? A dull factory heir? Jerold, with whom she makes love? Or--Morty, who shows up to take his rightful place as half-heir to his father's Rush Woolens . . . and to indeed marry Regina. Miscarriages and a lost baby follow, however. Disconsolate, Regina moves into the Rush business, establishing a popular line of designer fabrics--then adopting a Jewish boy from Germany in 1926 and giving birth (twice) at last. And meanwhile there's a nonstop series of yakky family problems: Morty's brother-in-law partner who plays dirty tricks; a nasty aunt who breaks up her son's courtship of a nice non-Jewish girl; a nasty cousin who sponges in bad times, sneers in good; kindly, helpful (""tell him you're a friend of mine"") uncles; etc. etc. But then, after 20 years of marriage to Morty, Regina, with Jerold, feels the old magic: there's a brief, passionate fling, when they both pretend divorce and remarriage will work . . . till Regina turns away with understanding Morty, knowing that Jerold ""takes with him all the music of her youth."" Leahy's previous soap-operas for Jewish heroines (Circle of Love, Book of Ruth) at least moved along with sentimental energy. This one, uninventive and hung on a limp family tree, is merely dull--even for the built-in Belva Plain-ish audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1982
Publisher: Putnam