QUEEN OF HEARTS by Vera & Bill Cleaver


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We're used to hearing a richer, more lyric voice from the Cleavers--that special dignified folksy vernacular is missing here. What is still in strong evidence, however, is their steadfast allegiance to such old-fashioned basics as family and duty. Quite simply twelve-year-old Wilma Lincoln must decide whether to become the permanent live-in companion for her grandmother who insists on keeping her home even after a stroke. There's never been any love lost between Wilma and Granny who first seems not so much crotchety as downright cruel, spitefully accusing her grandchildren of stealing gold pieces, refusing little Claybrook's gift of a handmade bird feeder, and making life hell for the adult companions enlisted by Wilma's parents. Still, from her growing perception of Granny's fears and needs, Wilma decides to stick it out with the ""Queen of Hearts"" (Grannys girlhood nickname) and even goes to elaborate and bone-wearying lengths to set Granny up in a baking business. Like many of the Cleavers' resolute heroines, Wilma is so through-and-through decent that she can't help but win you over. And although the pacing here is somewhat sluggish, the carefully shaded relationship between Wilma and Granny -- a grudging truce that gives way to trust -- has a lot of unsentimental heart. But then again that's always been the Cleavers' strongest suit.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1978
Publisher: Lippincott