SPRING AT THE WINGED HORSE: The First Season of Rosie Carr by Ted Willis

SPRING AT THE WINGED HORSE: The First Season of Rosie Carr

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A shamelessly sentimental heart-plucker--about a scrappy Cookson-style Cockney lass who fights fierce and square for her friends (and herself) in the midst of London's drear. In 1906, 13-year-old Rosie Cart is booted from the squalid digs where she has labored to help her dying scrubwoman aunt; her newly widowered uncle places her to board and work at the Winged Horse pub, reigned over by that ""female Captain Bligh,"" Mrs. Quorn. Still, Rosie's used to drudgery, and things do look up as she makes friends: Mr. Softley, a pub pianist and singer of ""faded gentility""; Big Bess, who has the jellied eel stand; kind Mr. Crook, who invites Rosie to family tea and looks after her spiritual welfare; and handsome lady-killer Tommo the Toff, a con-artist/street-seller who rescues the soon-beauteous Rosie from sang-rape but fails to win any slap-and-tickle from her. Then, after poor Mr. Softley commits suicide when police come to arrest him for an ""unspeakable"" crime, Rosie takes his place playing the ""joanna,"" demanding more money from Mrs. Q. And meanwhile Rosie is being tentatively courted by a Detective Constable but is more intrigued by the new potman--very ill, blueblooded social reformer Frank Lambert, who lost his health trying to join the working class (which Rosie thinks is ""plain daft""). Thanks to Frank, Rosie learns to read. Thanks to Rosie, Frank is reunited with his father Sir Roger (KC, MP) and saved from consumption. Rosie's first love affair, however, is with MP Russell Whitby--and it's just delightful, with no regrets. . . until she discovers the consequences. So Tommo, weak inside all the swagger, begs the pregnant lass to team up with him after his year's sentence for selling stolen goods--in an unresolved, soldiering-on finale for barmaid Rosie. Larded with Cockney slang, and obvious--but not unappealing.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1983
Publisher: Morrow