A young girl, striving to become a writer, 'holds onto love'; Hold On to Love, by Mollie Hunter. New York: Harper & Row Junior Books. 251 pp.

A bonnie young lass, she is. But beneath Bridie McShane is hardy as a freesia in March. The 1972 forerunner of this new autobiographical novel, ''A Sound of Chariots ,'' took Bridie from her fifth birthday to her 15th. Here Scotland's renowned Mollie Hunter continues Bridie's journey toward young womanhood and sought-after career as a writer.

The setting is Edinburgh on the brink of World War II, with local Blackshirts holding rallies on the Mound and khaki-clad officers and NCOs jamming the city's train station. By day Bridie works in her grandfather's florist shop, ticking off the hours until night school starts and she can begin to unravel the intricacies of language that she must master before she can become a real poet.

Or should she be a playwright? Or A novelist? Determined to make her own way, Bridie is a first-rate leading lady in a reminiscence that should draw plenty of applause from today's understudies.

The supporting cast of characters are equally appealing. With her younger brother, William, Bridie sings the old, tub-thumping tunes from Grandma Armstrong's hymnal. Her Mum, pink-cheeked as a rose, is a model of long-suffering patience. But it's Granny Armstrong who reaches out from her deathbed to implore Bridie to ''hold on to love.''

Love has come to call in the person of Peter McKinley. He's Bridie's first ''fella.'' Too protective and possessive for Bridie, as it turns out.

It could have been the stuff of mawkish midday soaps, but author Hunter never loses her sure touch with the complex character she's reliving here.

As a quiet odyssey through the labyrinth of self-exploration, this book should hold special meaning for young artists-to-be. After seizing on every experience with gusto, and then throwing out much of her verse and prose as ''high-flown rubbish,'' Bridie eventually comes to a well-reasoned reckoning of her abilities and aspirations.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK