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Allen, Charlotte Vale.

Toronto, Collins, c1986. 558pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-00-223051-8. CIP

Reviewed by Barbara Egerer Walker

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Charlotte Vale Allen's twenty-third book is entitled Time/Steps. The story spans sixty years in the life of a Toronto-born girl. Beatrice Crane, whose love of dancing and the theatre, which begins at a young age, forms the basis of the story. Beatrice grows up in a small apartment above a store on Palmerston Avenue, with her mother and aunt. She realizes she is a bother to them both, so she decides to make it on her own as soon as she is old enough to leave home. Befriended by a young dance instructor. Lucy, Beatrice is given dancing lessons and quickly becomes good enough to enter a local contest, where she wins first prize money that enables her and Lucy to go to New York to further their dancing careers.

Success on Broadway leads to movie offers from Hollywood. The intricate daily lifes of the actors, producers, and directors are vividly portrayed, and Hollywood during the forties, fifties, and sixties, as seen through the eyes of an actress, is fascinating and detailed. Beatrice's lifelong love of two very different men adds intrigue and drama to the story. A shocking accident almost ends her career at its peak. Her love for her only child fails to bring the closeness Beatrice craves.

Intertwined throughout the novel are real Hollywood places and names that help to authenticate the story: well-known actors such as Joan Crawford and Fred Astaire; famous places such as the Hollywood Bowl and Graumann's Chinese Theatre. Charlotte Vale Allen has achieved success in writing about a subject that greatly interests her; theatre and the arts. Time/Steps is an enjoyable rendezvous into the world of stage and screen. This book is hard to put down.

Barbara Egerer Walker, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, Ont.
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