From Publishers Weekly
Not the story of the famous Little Women
author's mother, Geary's fourth novel (after Regrets Only
) is the piteous tale of a long-married patrician who remains true to her uneventful life in Cape Cod despite an overbearing husband, ungrateful sons and ill health. Thirty-six years a homemaker and "attentive wife" to Bainbridge Alcott, Grace pays a high price for her inability to assert her will and desires. "Bain dealt with all the bills" is her refrain regarding her controlling banker husband, who's taken early retirement and informs her they have to sell their home in order to make ends meet. Without consulting her, he decrees they are moving to Palm Beach, Fla., while she, on the other hand, learns she has cancer and decides not to tell him. Meanwhile, their two grown sons, Hank and Erin, are furious at their parents for selling the family home. The novel delineates a lifetime of deference to parents, husband and tradition, from Grace's truncated Radcliffe education to the present day, when she suffers her illness and loneliness in martyr-like silence. "I've accomplished almost nothing," Grace remarks to Bain, and finally, hope sparks for this strangely unnerving and deeply familiar woman. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Grace Alcott is the kind of woman one doesn't presume to find in a contemporary society whose feminist consciousness has been raised beyond the wifely images set by their mothers' generation. Having come of age at a time when women were encouraged to forge their own identities, one would expect Grace to be less reliant on her husband, Bain; less devoted to his every whim; and less willing to subjugate her desires and opinions in the face of his almost dictatorial demeanor. Yet for nearly 35 years, Grace has been, if not content to be simply "Mrs. Alcott," then at least resigned to that narrow role. Financial setbacks force Bain to retire early and sell their beloved Cape Cod home, just as Grace learns she is terminally ill. Combined, these events enable Grace to finally take control of her life, hopefully before it's too late. Reminiscent of Evan Connell's superlative Mrs. Bridge
(1958), Geary's portrait of a conflicted yet stalwart woman is an equally exquisite study of human nature. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved