by Louis Bromfield
1 star - couldn't finish
Oh come on, Pulitzer Prize committee. Please.
I never even heard of Louis Bromfield. OK, I don't know everything. "Perhaps," I thought, "I will discover a wonderful new author. Isn't that part of why I am reading these Pulitzer Prize books in the first place?"
The book got off to a rocky start. I found the introduction of characters a bit convoluted and almost needed a scorecard. It didn't help that there were so many names that were the same: Sabina, Sybil, Sabine (yes, both Sabina and Sabine). I stayed strong and within fifty pages or so I had them mostly sorted out.
Then there was the fact that the action takes place in Massachusetts, but in the fictional town of Durham. I never got my head around that and part of me kept thinking everybody was at their summer place in the Carolinas.
So, what of the story? Rich family. Snobby. Black sheep. Crazy lady locked up in the north wing. Sick kid. Blah, blah, blabbity, blah, whatever.
The main character is Olivia Pentland. Sad lady. Trapped in loveless marriage. Boo hoo. Sorry, but I wasn't getting into it at all.
The author almost drew me back in with the promise of revealing some family secrets as well as the budding romance between poor Olivia and the common landowner, O'Hara. Almost. Lots of words, lots of details, but all the wrong details. Cardboard figures.
By page 100 I was skimming, by page 150 I was done. Blech.
Good thing, too, because I went online to see how it all turns out and I had I struggled through the remaining half of the book I would have been pig biting mad by the end. Turns out none of the surprises were very surprising after all.
The great founder of the Pentland family was a bastard child who stole the name from an aristocratic family. Uh oh. The old man really was having an affair but he kills himself by riding his horse off a cliff. Whoops. Olivia decides that the noble thing to do is to become the leader of what is left of the Pentland clan rather than taking a chance on love (i.e. running off with O'Hara). Please. Seriously?