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Ninth novel by No 1 international bestselling author Anita Shreve, who has been acclaimed by THE TIMES as 'exceptionally fine...an amazingly evocative writer'.
Anita Shreve is the author of the international bestseller THE PILOT'S WIFE, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and acclaimed novels such as THE WEIGHT OF WATER, which was a finalist for the prestigious Orange Prize.
Following The Last Time They Met and Fortune's Rocks, Shreve once again scores big with a wonderful new novel about marriage and love played out during the early months of the Depression. At age 20, in the summer of 1929, Honora marries Sexton Beecher, a traveling typewriter salesman. Although the first months of their marriage are idyllic, Honora begins to lose respect for her husband when she realizes that he plays fast and loose with the truth in both his business dealings and with her. After Sexton loses his sales job, he finds work at a local New Hampshire mill, where he becomes involved with a group of union organizers protesting the terrible working conditions. When Honora meets McDermott, a union activist, and Francis, an 11-year-old mill worker whom McDermott has befriended, her life takes an unexpected turn. As Honora's disenchantment with Sexton grows more serious, she is increasingly drawn to McDermott, with tragic consequences. Vibrant characters, coupled with a graceful writing style, make Shreve's novel perfect for readers who appreciate multilayered stories with a social conscience. For all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/01.] Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
'A beautifully visualised novel of emotional discovery' SUNDAY TIMES; 'Shreve skilfully unfolds her story of interlinking lives, displaying an intimate knowledge of the workings of the human heart' WOMAN AND HOME; 'A finely written story of human beings pushed to the edge' SUNDAY MIRROR; 'When violence erupts, the ensuing tragedy is all the more heartbreaking when described with Shreve's polished restraint' DAILY MAIL
In addition to spinning one of her most absorbing narratives, Shreve here rewards readers with the third volume in a trilogy set in the large house on the New Hampshire coast that figured in The Pilot's Wife and Fortune's Rocks. This time the inhabitants are a newly married couple, Sexton and Honora Beecher, both of humble origins, who rent the now derelict house. In a burst of overconfidence, slick typewriter salesman Sexton lies about his finances and arranges a loan to buy the property. When the 1929 stock market crash occurs soon afterward, Sexton loses his job and finds menial work in the nearby mills. There, he joins a group of desperate mill hands who have endured draconian working conditions for years, and now, facing extortionate production quotas and reduced pay, want to form a union. The lives of the Beechers become entwined with the strikers, particularly a principled 20-year-old loom fixer named McDermott and Francis, the 11-year-old fatherless boy he takes under his wing. A fifth major character is spoiled, dissolute socialite Vivian Burton, who is transformed by her friendship with Honora. As Honora becomes aware that Sexton is untrustworthy, she is drawn to McDermott, who tries to hide his love for her. The plot moves forward via kaleidoscopic vignettes from each character's point of view, building emotional tension until the violent, rather melodramatic climax when the mill owners' minions confront the strikers. Shreve is skilled at interpolating historical background, and her descriptions of the different social strata the millworkers, the lower-middle-class Sextons, the idle rich enhance a touching story about loyalty and betrayal, responsibility and dishonor. This is one of Shreve's best, likely to win her a wider audience. 6-city author tour. (Apr. 9) Forecast: Expectations of brisk sales, indicated by the one-day laydown, will likely be achieved. Readers should find timely resonance in the setting of 1920s economic turbulence. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.