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Fiction

October 20, 1985|JUDY BASS

IN GOOD FAITH by Edith Reveley (Overlook: $15.95). Reveley's second novel depicts the toll that disappointment takes on some adults and a woebegone girl. After their children reach adulthood, George and Margery Ince leave England to settle in Rome, where George takes a new job and both Inces can savor some leisure time. But the idyllic life that they anticipated never materializes. George is appalled by the pettiness of his business associates; Margery sometimes hankers for the editorial position she held in England, and Rome has become a "damnable madhouse" infested by terrorists. In addition, George fumes after Margery reluctantly promises her old friend Tango Pahn that her daughter Muriel can spend several months with the Inces. Although George and Margery worry about the intrusive presence of a teen-ager in their home, Muriel needs a respite from her coarse father and Tango, who wanted a vivacious daughter instead of an ungainly, introverted misfit. Fortunately, the Inces do warm up to Muriel, and during her stay, all three experience joy, anxiety and unexpected calamities that rearrange their lives. Plausible characterizations and an interesting setting may intrigue readers, yet the book contains serious flaws. Reveley's restrained tone undermines quite a few dramatic scenes, and the lackluster conclusion is unsatisfying.

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