Monday, July 19, 2010

Ever After (1948)

Ever After
Phyllis Whitney, il. Elinor Darby (cover)
1948, Houghton Mifflin Company

The blue eyes that took in everything and gave out nothing examined Marel critically, coveted her hat and came wearily to rest when they reached her portfolio.
"Oh," she said. "One of those. Just out of art school, I suppose?"

Margaret Elizabeth "Marel" Pope comes to New York City from Chicago determined to make her way as an illstrator of children's books. When her initial interview at Embree Studios ends in the gentle observation that her drawings lack life, Marel goes off freshly determined to improve her work and win a place there. She luckily has a wealthy aunt, Peggy, whose fame as a hatmaker has resulted in a penthouse apartment she's opened to her struggling niece.

Marel won't stay long with Peggy. She quickly befriends a young writer, Chris Mallory, and they fall in love. But with postwar housing at a premium, the young couple can only find a tiny studio, which blows the problems of their early months of marriage all out of proportion. Does Marel believe that a woman can't have a career and a husband, as so many of her friends claim?

Whitney had a talent for summing people up. Marel's cynical coworker Gail:
...a tall, rather brassy-looking girl came to the door of the waiting room. No hair could ever have grown that color, but it was beautiful, sleekly combed and certainly eye-taking. She'd have been quite pretty except for the hard lines about her mouth and the suspicious way her blue eyes regarded the world.

The romance is quite nice, and Chris is a model young husband, willingly sharing the chores in a very modern way. Everything, in fact, is very 21st century until Marel realizes, as have so many heroines in so many romances, that their problems are all her fault.
About the author
Phyllis Ayame Whitney worked in libraries and bookstores in Chicago before marrying George A. Garner in 1925. They had a daughter, Georgia, in 1934. She worked for the Chicago Sun and the Philadelphia Inquirer during the 1940s. Her first book, A Place For Ann, was published in 1941. In 1950 she re-married; according to her NYT obituary, she divorced Garner in 1945 partly because he was not supportive of her writing. Two of her mysteries for children won the Edgar Allen Poe Award, and she was awarded the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1988.
Books for teens
Nobody Likes Trina (friendship)
The Fire And The Gold (early San Francisco)
A Long Time Coming (migrant workers)
Step To The Music (Civil War)
Linda's Homecoming
Willow Hill (race)
A Place For Ann

Creole Holiday (acting)
The Highest Dream (working at the UN)
Love Me, Love Me Not
The Silver Inkwell (writer)
A Window For Julie (window dresser)
A Star For Ginny (illustrator)


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