About Charlotte Vale-Allen
Charlotte Vale-Allen On Writing
Dreaming in Color
Island Nation Press
How to Contact Charlotte
by Anna Zola, May 14, 1989
Not all men's problems come from mud on the boots -- there are also those scars on the soul that provoke the beast within. In Night Magic, Charlotte Vale-Allen rewrites The Phantom of the Opera and sets it in a Connecticut suburb.
Hidden beneath his horribly burnt face, the gifted architect Eric D'Anton goes out only at night. One evening, he visits a friend to plan a kitchen renovation that will change his life. There he meets young Marisa Crane who somehow plumbs immediately Eric's trapped desperation. But she only slowly convinces him of her love and even after their marriage, crises abound as Eric faces the light of the world while Marisa encounters her own dark side. In this novel, love doesn't automatically transform anyone into a prince, or princess.
Charlotte Vale-Allen described her own painful experience with a love that does not save in her memoir about incest, Daddy's Girl.
She knows the difficulties of transacting and transferring power between women and men, in life and in writing. While the claustrophobia of the D'Anton's darkened house may drive some readers out to mow the lawn in the sunshine, Night Magic develops a hypnotic, erotic rhythm that, if you succumb, will rock you all night long.
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by Donna Lange, June 6, 1989
Influenced by The Phantom of the Opera seen in London and using elements of Beauty and the Beast, Ms. Allen created 16-year-old Marisa Crane who falls in love with Erik D'Anton, "a brilliant older man . . . so profoundly scarred both physically and emotionally that he literally cannot face the light of day." Erik allows Marisa to penetrate his world of darkness where they communicate their love for each other through music.
They meet when Marisa's father decides to renovate their house and Erik, a skilled architect, is employed to do the job. His working habits are unorthodox as he visits clients only at night and transacts business mainly by letter or telephone. Erik's lifestyle is one of isolation.
Mesmerized by this creature who wears a cape and mask, able to see beyond his mangled deformity, Marisa insists her father invite Erik to dinner. Erik accepts because he's equally attracted to the young girl. Until first sight of Marisa, life seemed tedious. Now his emotions have been fueled to a new power. Erik can't handle Marisa's declaration of caring. For her age, the girl shows exceptional compassion.
They begin a relationship that grows more intimate as it goes along, with Marisa's father ignorant of their affair, thinking his daughter is taking music lessons from this man. Their passionate lovemaking borders on the erotic.
Ms. Allen has a knack for holding her reader spellbound. Her situations are intense, her characters unique. In this latest endeavor Erik and Marisa are memorable, and Erik's close friend, a man who finds it hard to love, and the "nursemaid" to the motherless Marisa are also interesting.
Anyone not a fan of Ms. Allen already will be after Night Magic.
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by Patricia Morley, June 11, 1989
Beauty and the Beast, the fable of a hideously ugly man hopelessly in love with a beautiful woman, has had a long run in the human psyche. Obviously, it corresponds to deep and elemental fears, shards of self-hatred which we all share.
The plot for Night Magic was triggered by her [Allen] seeing a modern theatrical version of The Phantom of the Opera in London. The audience wanted the Phantom to win the woman. His emotional and sexual yearning were irresistible. Allen shared that feeling and began on her own version, with "every intention of seeing to it that the Phantom got the girl."
In Allen's version, the Phantom, who fears the light, has been horribly scarred in the auto accident that killed his parents and left him an orphan at seven. Erik D'Anton is a musical genius and a talented architect who practices his profession with the help of a devoted male employee. Hal Raskin is both his household servant and the middleman for his clients.
Erik falls in love with the beautiful Marisa, and the impossible happens. Attracted by his talent and able to see the inner man, the 16-year-old reciprocates his love. They marry on her 18th birthday, halfway through the novel and just after the girl becomes an orphan.
The second half moves into deeper psychological waters as the marriage begins to founder over Marisa's desire for a child and Erik's refusal to face fatherhood. Erik's self-contempt is mirrored in his faithful servant and friend, an engineer who has fought in Vietnam. We learn that Raskin's emotional scars came from his family rather than the war. Marisa is brought into the pattern when an attempted rape makes her despise herself for her naivetee and duplicity.
A happy ending? Of course. This is romance, a super-romance laced with sex, wealth and four characters whom Allen does succeed in making real. One suspects that all of her [Allen's] characters here are projections of herself, but their magical transformation is well done.