Books: Bourgeois Wife & Mother

MADAME DORTHEA—Sigrid Undset—Knopf ($2.50).

Madame Dorthea is a study of a bourgeois wife & mother in the early months of widowhood. A really good novelist could have made something of the theme with no sales-trimmings. Madame Undset puts it in the 18th Century, replete with archeological detail, dopes it to the teeth with "colorful," superfluous characters, whips up a spurious suspense, and still is too much of a bourgeois wife & mother to bring it off.

A clergyman's daughter, young Dorthea married a clergyman—an old one—and suffered several frigid years. When he died, she married...

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