More than one unwelcome change occurs in Dorothea Gilbert's settled life after her orphaned nephew, Hugo (a plump, good-natured 14-year-old who is the very antithesis of his bad-seed father), arrives at her isolated cottage with bags in hand. But if Dorrie has her doubts about becoming a mother at 38, Hugo wonders how he'll ever survive this enforced union with an aunt who doesn't even own a television. Without daily doses of his favorite soap opera, the long summer days spent alone while Dorrie works at the potter's wheel seem too grim to contemplate. And when Hugo finally makes friends with an opinionated, stringy-haired singer two years his senior, his aunt appears to disapprove of his choice. While Hugo moons hopelessly over his love and makes some unhappy discoveries about his parentage, Dorrie falls hard for Alex Willick, a tormented writer who makes clear his distaste for Hugo. Before succumbing to an overly neat ending, Florey's fourth novel (Family Matters, etc.) offers warm humor laced wtih a range of emotional nuance that does justice to her appealing characters. Foreign rights: Jane Cushman. January 28
Dorrie is a 38-year-old potter who lives alone in a small Connecticut farmhouse, and whose life is turned around when her orphaned nephew, Hugo, comes to live with her. A small cast of characters rounds out this novel very neatly as Dorrie and Hugo learn to adapt to one another's peculiarities. Along the way Hugo falls for an ``older woman'' of 16, and Dorrie meets Alex, a somewhat pompous ``blocked'' writer who doesn't take to children. The unmelodramatic plot and resolution are credible and entertaining as both Dorrie and Hugo learn a few compromises in adjusting to being a family unit. The characters are real people who talk, act, and react in plausible situations and the daily dramas of ``real life.'' A very good novel for popular collections. Virginia A. Doser, Saddleback Coll . Lib., Mission Viejo, Cal.