ALL GOOD WOMEN by Valerie Miner


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Here, Miner (Blood Sisters 1982; Winter's Edge, 1985) focuses on the females who kept the home fires burning during WW II, in a novel about four young women who meet at secretarial school in 1938 and room together in a house on San Francisco's Stockton Street. They are: Ann Rose, daughter of Jewish immigrants; Teddy Fielding, whose large family came to California from the Dust Bowl; the Nisei, Wanda Nakatani; and Moira Finlayson, a would-be actress of stuffy Scottish background. Their household is a crazy melting pot (""Look at that table. . ."" says one of them at dinnertime, ""all rather uncommon dishes prepared by uncommon dishes""). But when war is declared, the Stockton Street mÉnage does not long endure. Wanda is the first to go, though reluctantly, to internment in Arizona with other Japanese Americans. Then Ann abandons her friends and classical studies to work in London with Jewish refugee children. In their absence, Teddy and Moira, who receives a ""Dear Jane"" letter from her pre-war beau just as she learns she's pregnant by him, form a lesbian relationship, which turns into an ugly triangle when the errant father comes marching home. By the end of the fighting, all four women gravitate back to San Francisco, still fast friends, but now with histories, ready to face the future, liberated well before the feminist revolution. The feminist themes, however, are unsubtle and unconvincing given the WW II setting, the more so because the era itself is so cursorily re-created (with headlines at the beginning of each chapter like ""ITALIANS INVADE ALBANIA; GERMANS CLAIM DANZIG""). All the rest is simple soap opera.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1987
Publisher: Crossing