Picks and Pans Review: Felice

updated 08/02/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/02/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Angela Davis-Gardner

The arrival of an injured sailor at a French-Canadian convent in Nova Scotia in 1921 shatters the supposed calm of the isolated female community. To Felice, a student at the school, the man becomes a catalyst for her awakening sexuality; to Sister Agatha, an elderly, unbalanced nun, he is the focus of her repressed fantasies. From these events the author weaves an understated atmosphere of rising hysteria that culminates, finally, in decisions for both the girl and the old nun. Slowly paced, Felice is not for everyone, but its gentle ironies and sympathetic perceptions make it an absorbing first novel. Davis-Gardner is a 40-year-old Duke graduate. (Random House, $13.50)

From Our Partners