Book Notes: The Marriage Portrait

I have a handful of authors who belong to a select category labeled “I will read anything you write.” I find their prose irresistibly compelling, no matter the subject, no matter if the characters are likable, no matter if (gasp!) the ending is hopeful. Ann PatchettEmily St. John Mandel. And Maggie O’Farrell.

When I read the description of her newest novel, The Marriage Portrait, I thought, I’m not sure I want to read a historical novel about a girl in Renaissance Italy, who is raised in privilege for the sole purpose of making an advantageous marriage, makes said marriage, and is dead less than a year later. You know the end before you even begin. 


Book Notes: Fellowship Point

For some readers, summer is made for finding the thickest book possible to escape, mentally at least, from the warm temperatures into its pages. In summers past, East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye have been those epic summer reads for me. I was so absorbed in the story, in turning the next page, that I barely noticed the heat. This August, as we’ve seen the temperatures climb, I picked up Fellowship Point by Alice Elliot Dark.

I was intrigued by the unusual premise of two central characters being women in their 80’s and the primary landowners of homes passed down for generations on a (fictional) peninsula of land in Maine. In a community established by Philadelphia Quaker families, Agnes Lee and Polly Wister are of the latest generation to summer in these immensely desirable residences on Fellowship Point. 



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