MOON LAKE ANGEL by Vera Cleaver


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In her third book since her coauthor's death, Cleaver creates another unwanted child making her way in a hostile, indifferent world. Kitty 10 boards at a home for children whose parents can't care for them. When all are leaving for the summer, she states (falsely) that her father is coming for her. After everyone else has left, she buses to Dad's, to find that he, his new wife, and an adopted child (who is news to Kitty, but not a surprise; she knows Dad doesn't believe she's really his) are away for the summer. Journeying to Moon Lake, she finds her mother, Bauma, about to marry Edwin, her boss. Bauma, finding Kitty an embarrassment, boards her with Aunt Petal, who provides plenty of love but is elderly, infirm, and so poor that food is meager and the roof leaks. Daunted but dogged, Kitty uses her only weapon--blackmail--to get Bauma to improve conditions. Bauma doesn't warn Edwin to know about her second husband, Hubert, a favorite of Kitty's who believed an angel perched on his shoulder and who is now in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, Edwin's growing animosity towards Kitty is matched by Bauma's self-centered laziness. Kitty plots revenge: she makes a plaster angel as a gift for them, planning to tell about Hubert, but at the critical moment "". . .some source of gentility. . .and intelligence. . ."" intervenes; Bauma escapes just retribution, and Kitty, in a startling and heartwarming reversal, discovers that she possesses both a heart and hope. Like Byars', Cleaver's prose is lean and pungent and her characters sharply drawn, though her humor is more subdued than Byars' effervescent wit. Kitty is a worthy successor to Cleaver's other, critically acclaimed heroines. A bright jacket portrait of the impish-looking Kitty should help attract readers.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1987
Page count: 135pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard