Mama Played for the King
Scottish soldier Robert Stewart and French girl Charlotte Roussard have a chance encounter shortly before the start of the Second World War. A gifted piano prodigy, Charlotte is attending the Paris Conservatory of Music. It was love at first sight for him. After a brief courtship, they cross her parents, marry and move to Canada.
Robert’s wartime assignment was building the ALCAN Highway. Charlotte bears him two sons and a daughter. At war’s end, Robert moves his family to San Luis Obispo, CA and hires on with the railroad. Depressed by weather and the strain of marriage and motherhood responsibilities, Charlotte begins to lose touch with reality. When Charlotte’s mother dies, her father asks her to return to France and care for him. Against Robert’s protests, Charlotte agrees and takes the children with her. Robert remains at his job in California.
The decision thrusts the children into insecurity, unacceptance and anger at their absent father. Phillip, the oldest child, becomes the man of the family as his mother slowly slips into a land of make believe. Is Phillip up to task?
When his grandfather passes away, Charlotte is institutionalized leaving fourteen year old Phillip to deal with a disinherited uncle, a self-righteous church and an exploitive bureaucracy that separates the children by farming them out as menial workers. Phillip’s anger toward his father grows deeper each day.
Does the father ever learn of his wife’s mental collapse, that his children have been separated and placed in the service of strangers? Does Phillip mange to reunite with his siblings? At what cost?
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