Dreaming in Color by Charlotte Vale Allen

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When Bobby Salton runs away from her violently abusive husband, Joe, taking her six-year-old daughter Penny with her, she knows she is fleeing for her life but has no idea where she is going. Her wish to see the ocean leads her to the Connecticut shore, and a help-wanted ad takes her to the home of Eva Rule and her aunt, Alma Ogilvie.

Bobby bears both the mental and physical scars of her beatings and Eva, independent and self-possessed, is both fascinated and repelled by the victim she sees before her. Ultimately, it is the ebullient, precocious Penny who gains them a place in the household by winning the heart of Alma, a stern but loving retired teacher who has been incapacitated by a stroke.

The unexpected--and sometimes unwanted--emotions aroused by Bobby's entrance into the household haunts the women's dreams and private thoughts. But whereas Eva and Alma are stalked by the past, Bobby is pursued by fears of Joe, an unseen but ever-present danger. Penny, finally, is the catalyst who breaks down the barriers each of the three has built around herself.

About Charlotte Vale Allen

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Published March 8, 2009 by Island Nation Press LLC. 416 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Parenting & Relationships, History. Fiction

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(Alma is intrigued by bright Penny, but the child's chatter may be wearying to the reader--and Bobby, who regularly uses ``real'' as an adverb but who admits to reading all of Dickens, shifts in and out of focus.) Both Alma and her novelist daughter Eva have doubts about the two, but Bobby is rem...

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Publishers Weekly

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The story of three women-an abused wife, a retired girls-school director and a successful author-who struggle with their pasts while forming a bond among themselves is portrayed in Allen's latest novel.

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Publishers Weekly

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But Bobby's presence brings out the worst in Alma's sharp-tongued, judgmental niece, Eva Rule, a novelist who disdains Bobby and--blaming the victim--thinks the woman is perhaps responsible for her own abuse.

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