Author: Maryanne O'Hara
Publish Date: August 16, 2012
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours
|Umm, how gorgeous is this cover???
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You are up for a tragic read.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a newly married artist faces an impossible choice between her passion and her promises
Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will become engrossed in this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.
It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?"
My Two Cents:
"Cascade" is a historical fiction book that takes place in Cascade, Massachusetts, a town that might be razed in order to make way for a reservoir to serve the city of Boston. The people of the town are looking at a future where the town they know will be no more and they will have to move on. Dez, the main character in the book, wants out of the life she currently has. She wants to save her father's Shakespearean playhouse and she wants out of her marriage and maybe even out of Cascade. She is married but only because it was convenient for her to be married after her beloved father died.
Dez is one of those characters that while I didn't exactly like her because of some of the choices that she made, I could understand where she was coming from. In the 1930s, women still didn't seem to have a lot of choices when it came to making their own way. Dez is an incredibly talented artist who dreamt of trying to make it in New York City someday but marries Asa instead, which relegates her to the small town she grew up in. It's a life that Dez really never wanted but she was never willing to take those steps out on her own because it's not what proper young women do. However, a couple years into her marriage, she realizes that maybe she should have taken a risk and begins doing things, such as striking up a relationship with Jacob, a Jewish man (frowned upon by the denizens of Cascade) who understands the artistic ambitions of Dez. He's also not totally forthcoming with who he is, an irony on which some of the main story line is hinged.
Although this story isn't based on any specific Shakespeare play, a lot of the tragic elements that made Shakespeare's tragedies so well regarded are present in this book. This isn't a particularly happy book. The irony of Dez's actions and the way things turned out for her was very Shakespearean to me.
The historical detail in this book is wonderful. I'm always astounded about how entire towns could be destroyed in order to make way for something new. This happened several times over the history of our country and it's sort of crazy to think about. I really enjoyed reading about how O'Hara was inspired to write this book in the author's note and the reader's guide.
Come back tomorrow for a guest post by Maryanne O'Hara and a giveaway of Cascade!
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