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The house of dolls
Comyns, Barbara, 1909-1992.
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New York : St. Martin's Press, 1989.
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Booklist Review

Amy Doll lives in trepidation that someone will discover the income-earning methods of her upstairs tenants--four older, once-genteel ladies who, absent any job skills, have turned to entertaining elderly gentlemen for a fee. When a policeman starts visiting Amy regularly, she is certain that he is working undercover, with plans to send them all to jail. Then it becomes clear that his interests are only amorous. The widowed Amy, the only woman in the house not looking for male companionship, finds a new spouse and a father for her 14-year-old daughter. A droll tale set in contemporary London. ~--Denise Perry Donavin

Publisher's Weekly Review

The eponymous house belongs to Amy Doll, a young, unassertive widow, striving to educate her reluctant teenage daughter and dependent on the rent payments of an odd complement of women who lease the upstairs rooms in her London residence. While Amy attempts to set limits within her own space in the basement, she realizes that ``her house was being used as a brothel for elderly gentlemen.'' The doyennes of the upstairs are two aging harridans who spar endlessly with each other. Both are divorcees, short on money, long in languorous, bibulous reminiscences about better times and better men. They entertain some doddering admirers, which brings the house to the attention of an enterprising policeman, allowing Comyns to introduce a wholesome love interest for Amy. How all the women, especially the ladies who are to be evicted upon Amy's marriage, have their fates worked out--rather too patly--is the burden of this fragile, occasionally amusing novel from the author of The Juniper Tree . (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved