Forever Amber: The whore is a bore

The period of the English Restoration, when England rejected the Puritan Oliver Cromwell Puritanism in favor of the profligate Charles II, is the setting for Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber.

Amber St. Clair is the orphaned love child of a couple whose families were on opposite sides during the English Civil War. When the Cavaliers come through town, Amber is seduced at 16 by Bruce, Lord Carlton, who tells her he won’t marry her and proves it by going off privateering.

Left to her own resources, Amber marries for money a man who marries her for her money.

Both are disillusioned.

Amber winds up in debtor’s prison. She escapes through her sexual prowess and begins a series of alliances designed to raise her social status and income.

“The brilliant, lavish, exciting life of an exclusive harlot seemed to her a most pleasant one,” Windsor says.

From then on, Amber’s life is a series of sexual alliances that ultimately take her to the bedchamber of the king himself.

When Amber’s enemies finally figure how to get rid of her, it is 450 pages too late to do readers any good.

Forever Amber is simply an interminable bore.

Forever Amber
By Kathleen Winsor
Macmillan, 1944
652 pages
Bestseller #4 for 1944
Bestseller #1 for 1945
My grade: D+

© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Star Money a Depressing Tale of Neurotic Novelist

The star of Kathleen Winsor’s Star Money, Shireen Delaney, is a  disturbed child who grows up to become a hugely successful novelist, disturbing a great many other people in the process.

As a teenager, Shireen was not interested in school or reading. She appeared to have little interest in boys.  Nobody knew about the novels she’d been writing for years.

Within a few months of her marriage to nice, quiet Ed Farrell, however, he goes to the war and all the undiscovered facets of Shireen’s personality burst out.

To relieve the monotony of life alone, Shireen pounds out a novel and has affairs with Ed’s buddies. A New York agent turns Shireen into a celebrity author and becomes the closest thing Shireen has to a friend.

When Ed returns from service, he finds himself a non-entity in his wife’s social circles. Ed packs up and goes back home to L.A., leaving Shireen to face life  alone, with only  her agent, her boyfriends, and thousands of adoring fans for support. If you can believe author Kathleen Winsor, not one of those folks realizes Shireen has a few screws insufficiently tightened.

Winsor babbles about Shireen’s childhood, but show us nothing that could have warped anyone who was not already soft in the psyche.

Save your own psyche. Forget this novel.

Star Money
by Kathleen Winsor
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1950
442 pages
1950 bestseller # 5
My grade C

© Linda Gorton Aragoni