Books: Not So Sharp

BRITANNIA MEWS (378 pp.)—Margery Sharp—Little, Brown ($2.75).

Adelaide grew up in Victorian London. Like most Victorian storybook heroines, she lived in a nice house, wore a merino dress and behaved like a skittish filly. It was Papa's idea that she should take drawing lessons. One afternoon her drawing master, Mr. Lambert, up and kissed her. What could Adelaide do? Mr. Lambert was poor and he drank; Papa declared that of course she couldn't marry him. She married him anyhow, and went to live in his dingy flat in an alley known as Britannia Mews....

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