Picks and Pans Review: Illusions of Love

UPDATED 04/08/1985 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/08/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

by Cynthia Freeman

Here's another Freeman saga spun around a family of Jewish immigrants. In this one, a New York adman has to weigh the value of passion and various forbidden fruits against an acceptable but emotionally low-grade love life. On the one hand, Martin Roth has Jenny, a Catholic knockout and a no-no, from a broken home in Biloxi, La. On the other hand, he has Sylvia, the quietly perfect Jew who's been in love with him since they were childhood playmates. Roth is a Yale grad from a close-knit family steeped in Jewish tradition (his great-grandfather had helped found a San Francisco synagogue). He feels deep affection for Sylvia, but the lust quotient with her is nonexistent. So he and Jenny set up house. They drink champagne. Life is aglow. But when Martin announces his intention to make a proper woman of Jenny (he's the first man she has risked purgatory for; she shuttles from bed to confessional), his mother puts her foot down. Dad's more sympathetic to Sonny's shiksa, but he dies. Then Sylvia comes back into the picture, and there's an emotional tug-of-war. The victory—let's not say whose—is tentative. Two grown children later, Martin still hasn't made up his mind. Will he ever? Come on, Marty. The bittersweet end of this novel—pleasantly absorbing but without much of a kick—lets you know whom he chooses at last. (Putnam, $16.95)

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