Book review: Those Loved And Loving Faces by Marlena Frick

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READERS of these pages may recall the reviews of writer and painter Marlena Frick.

Those Loved And Loving Faces

by Marlena Frick

Vanguard Press, 118pp, £6.99

In this moving memoir, she tells of her three great loves, and their tragic ends.

Married in her twenties to a doctor some 20 years older, who had fought his way with the Polish army through Europe, Frick at last found domestic peace after a childhood in a disrupted household. He died after only seven years of marriage. It took two years for her to accept he was not coming back.

On holiday in Portugal, she met her next love – a Scotsman and a distinguished writer. She moved to Edinburgh to be with him even though he refused to leave his wife. They were lovers for 20 years, and Frick writes powerfully of being his mistress. Then – “One day I saw him on the street – a shaky, thin-haired old man. How come I had only just noticed ?” Two years later he was dead.

The third great love in Frick’s life was a newspaper colleague, Jim Ritchie, with whom she had “five jokey years” before both realised they were in love. He left his wife and for ten years they lived happily in retirement, writing, painting, travelling. In Ritchie, she says, she had found her soulmate.

But on a painting trip to Spain, he collapsed and died in hospital. Frick thought of suicide, even consulting a book on the best way to do it. She doesn’t spare the reader the terrible emotions of loss, and she also describes at unusual depth the passions of physical love, but above all this is a memoir of a woman who searched for enduring love and lost.