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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Scarlett Letter" returns..., April 23, 2010
This review is from: Hester: The Missing Years of The Scarlet Letter: A Novel (Hardcover)
Background:

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic " The Scarlett Letter", we are introduced to the characters of Hester Prynne (the adulteress), Pearl (Hester's daughter), Arthur Dimmesdale (Minister and father to Pearl), and Old Roger Chillingworth (cuckolded husband of Hester). To recap, Hester Prynne was married to Roger Prynne, but while Roger Prynne was detained in another place, Hester met, fell in love, and lay with her minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, resulting in a child, an unhappy husband, a shamed woman, and a guilty minister.

Husband Roger returns and rescues himself from public embarrassment by adopting a new surname (Chillingworth) and occupation (physician). He then proceeds to exact revenge on the trespasser while Hester, who now bears the sign of her sin upon her bosom, is sworn to secrecy about her husband's new identity. In the end, Arthur Dimmesdale dies of guilt, husband Roger soon follows, and Hester, with her daughter, Pearl, venture out to a different part of the world, with Hester returning some time later.

Overview:

Hester and her daughter, Pearl, have just been informed that Roger Chillingworth has died and has bequeathed all of his vast fortune to Pearl. Hester is surprised, but pleased, at this news and makes a decision to take Pearl to Hester's homeland, England.

England is different than when Hester was last here. The king was executed by members of a new regime led by Oliver Cromwell, and the new laws are very much like the ones she left behind, that of the puritans.

Hester soon realizes that she has a gift that was acquired while she was in America. She can see the sins and shame of others by looking at them, and they can see it reflected in her eyes. This brings discomfort in many around her and they avoid her as often as possible.

However, a close associate of Cromwell's considers this to be an opportunity for the Protectorate and Hester is thrown into a political adventure that will affect the course of English history.

My review:

I did not like "The Scarlett Letter". It was a beautiful use of language to read, but the story was just boring. I wanted to read this book, "Hester", in an attempt to like the previous book. I think it worked.

Hester was well-written and the story was engaging. I loved the characters and the use of a part of English history that I knew nothing about. I liked that the author did not over-describe everything. I liked being able to see Pearl grow and become a woman. I really liked that Hester was finally able to find the strength in herself to prevent others from using her ill. This was a great book! Definitely read it, especially if you hate "The Scarlett Letter". Recommended!
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