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Sparling, S.L.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1985. 245pp, paperbound boards, $17.95, ISBN 0-385-23060-5. CIP

Reviewed by Jean Farquharson

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Chloe Delaney, thirty-eight years old, attractive, divorced, loving mother, and star pianist, finds herself in a sanitarium after an emotional breakdown and near suicide. Through a series of flashbacks, her life is revealed to us, and she finds the root of her loneliness and her desire for isolation. Like the beautiful princess in the fairy tale "The Glass Mountain," she became inaccessible.

Raised by wealthy Montreal parents who gave her everything but love, Chloe, as a precocious ten-year-old, ran away to New York when she discovered adoption papers and unopened letters from a grandmother she believed dead. Here she found a new family to love: Grandmother, a flamboyant Sarah Bernhardt type, and her cousin, Cosimo, a homosexual sculptor who became her dearest friend. Throughout her life, Chloe has found solace in her piano. Her talent led her to Hector, her diabetic friend at music camp, who loved her. She could not love him, and later he died. Her handsome husband, Laurence, was a poor match, for she had little in common with him except a taste for lovely things, orderliness, their lust, and their son, Andrew. Her series of lovers included her agent, Sebastian, and a music professor-composer, Adam, whom she appeared to worship but was unable to marry because her needs conflicted with his demands.

Although the characters are three-dimensional and fascinating, the fact that Chloe's problem stems from her inability to accept her true relationship to the Delaney family tends to stretch our credibility. Sharon Sparling's first full-length novel has a charm and style, however, that leads us on to Chloe's final discovery of happiness.

Jean Farquharson, Brantford C.I., Brantford, Ont.
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