LITTLE ANGIE. (1977) BY EMMA CAVE. PUBLISHED BY PAN.
BOOK REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is one of the strangest books I’ve read in a long time. It was described by Auberon Waugh of the Evening Standard as ‘a dazzling psychosexual thriller; a corker of a book,’ and, yes, it was a good enough read, but it didn’t exactly blow me away, either.
It’s really just a very unpleasant story about a mentally fragile woman who is dominated, abused and even gaslighted by the three main men in her life: her father, her husband, and then someone else’s husband, and she is also manipulated and manoeuvred by her friends. It’s really quite ghastly to read about.
Angela Maclintock was born into a super-privileged American family. Her father is a millionaire, and the most important person in her life. Certainly, she loves him better than she does her mother, whom she despises and abhors.
But her father dies when she’s still quite young, and it devastates the impressionable Angie. She never really recovers from it, even though, as her father’s heir, she has all his vast stores of money with which to console herself.
If her father had lived, given the way father and daughter felt about each other, we might have been reading a story about incest. In fact, the story reminded me a lot of Andrea Newman’s sexy shocker BOUQUET OF BARBED WIRE, the book and the television series, which last I reviewed here recently. It features implied father-daughter incest and caused quite a kerfuffle in Britain at the time.
Anyway, Angie eventually transplants herself to England and goes to university, her father’s dearest wish for her. She tries to fit in with the other students and even attempts to greatly play down her wealth so as not to alienate herself from them. But she leaves college after a year to marry the horrible posh Richard, whose sexual proclivities leave Angie not just cold, but positively freezing.
Richard comes complete with his closest friend Jessica, a greedy and manipulative bitch, who from the start has pound signs in her eyes when she looks at the super-minted but also super-naive Angie, who just really wants to be loved. She wants to be loved and happy, just like everyone else in the world does. What’s wrong with that?
But Angie doesn’t live in the real world: she lives in a world where the fairytale princess waits patiently in her castle tower for her prince to come. To come and rescue her, that is, from nasty old real life with its problems and annoying trifles. Angie can’t cope with the real world, or with Richard and his vile, disgusting sexual preferences.
That’s why, when Sir Peregrine comes along with his easy, dominant charm and courtesy towards an Angie who’s been almost destroyed by her marriage to Richard, and who has fled to the English countryside for safe harbour, the emotionally fragile young woman falls into his lap like a peach tumbling from a tree. If Richard almost destroyed her, then the machinations of Sir Peregrine will surely finish the job…
I love poking about amongst old books from the 1970s and early 1980s. You literally never know what you’re going to find. I wouldn’t exactly call LITTLE ANGIE an undiscovered gem of vintage horror fiction, but I wouldn’t give it the cold shoulder either. It’s such a curiosity, it’s definitely worth a read or two.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
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