Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden: A Novel Paperback – March 5, 2002
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Cambor excels at depicting both the minor joys and the major tragedies in her characters' lives. Frank Fallon and his wife Julia, for example, have lost both of their children to diphtheria:
It meant something to Julia to be the one to wash the bodies before the undertaker came. To leave Caroline's sickbed long enough to tend to her two younger children. To fill the basin with water warmed by the wood stove, to smooth the hair, to touch and trace their flesh one last time, memorizing them again, as she had right after she had birthed them. Touching toes, chin, the curled cusp of ear, the rounded mound of cheek, the dips and promontories of their supple spines. Frank couldn't bring himself to watch.Devotees of the historical novel will warm to Cambor's judicious use of period detail and her exacting prose, but may wish she had placed less emphasis on foreshadowing. We are told one too many times that the privileged men who built the dam had no interest in its structure or safety: "Someone should have been watching." On the other hand, Cambor has the good narrative sense to confine the flood itself and its horrific aftermath to the final pages of the book. There we are also given a glimpse of Nora Talbot in later life, marked by her youthful love affair with Daniel and by the waters that were--in every sense of the phrase--to part them. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Cambor does a lot of artful stage-setting, developing the reader's understanding of Johnstown's particular location and the construction of the dam through character. The beauty of the Pennsylvania mountain landscape is expressed by a young girl whose love for the outdoors makes her the only person from the lake to connect with someone from the town below. That young man is sparking the first unionization movement in the factories. His father and mother are both drawn to the town's librarian, a woman with a secret who helps prepare their son for college.
When the dam broke it took almost an hour for the wall of water to reach Johnstown. By the time it did, the force of the flood had dragged locomotives, houses, and corpses with it. The sound must have been terrifying and there was no where to go to escape it. Cambor's handling of the disaster is masterful; she tells you enough about the fate of her characters, but not so much as to break your heart.
"In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden" is a novel of complexity and grace, and it works on all levels.
I have been professionally studying the Johnstown Flood for almost a decade, and I am quite impressed with the research the author did, and the excellent effort to present the results of that research in a most compelling way.
She has created characters that you end up caring about a great deal. In fact, you'll likely be thinking about those characters long after you finish the book. She has almost perfectly captured the emotions and anguish that affected so many in the valley before and after the Flood. Quite importantly, you realize that there is indeed more to this story than most history books will tell you.
You will also be refreshed at the beautifully crafted writing...something that is so rare these days in the world of fiction.
Just remember, this is a piece of fiction. I encourage you to also read David McCullough's masterful 1968 book, 'The Johnstown Flood' for an excellent treatment of the Flood story.
In this mostly character-driven novel, the author manages to intimately acquaint us with many of the residents of the area and those who were visitors. In fact, she has managed to produce somewhat of a social history of that time and place. It is obvious that Cambor has done extensive research because, as the reader, I felt that the great attention to detail really put me into Johnstown in1889 as she set the stage for the disaster that was to come.
The South Fork dam which burst was below the site of a "gentlemen's club", The South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club, started by many of the wealthy industrialists of that time who lived in Pittsburgh (Frick, Carnegie, Mellon) and used by them as a mostly summer getaway.
Fourteen miles up the Little Conemaugh River, on whose banks Johnstown was built, a three-mile long lake was precariously held on the side of a mountain - 450 feet higher than Johnstown - by the old South Fork Dam. The dam had been neglected and poorly maintained, and every spring there was fear that the dam might not hold. But it always had, and the supposed threat became something of a standing joke around town.Read more ›
Kathleen Cambor writes with prose on a select few characters whose lives are entertwined with the Club and Johnstown. She also writes with passion ~~ diviluging subtle sides to the rich men involved in this tragedy as well as men who protested against the building of the lake which ended up overflowing and killing almost 2,000 people during a Memorial Day rainstorm. There is Nora, the daughter of one of the lawyers who protested for the repairs on the dam ~~ whose life became entangled with Daniel Fallon, who lost his whole family in the flood. There is Andrew Mellon pining away for his dead financee; Andrew Carnegie entrapped by his mother's rule; Henry Clay Frick whose main concern is his comfort and prosperity. Cambor brings them all to life within this novel.
If you are a fan of historical fiction like I am ~~ I highly recommend reading this book. It will spark an interest in a tragedy that happened long ago and it was a tragedy that could have been prevented ~~ if men weren't so obstinate in denying that there was a problem. Even today, one cannot still imagine the depth of human lives lost ~~ it's too much to comprehend. But Cambor gave some of the victims voices in which they could share their lives, dreams, goals and aspirations. You can hear their voices haunting you as you read this book.
I think this is a must-read. It's not slow-paced like I feared ~~ it was very moving and the story sweeps you along with the voices and soon, you realize the tragedy is not just in the fact that the dam failed ~~ but in the fact that men simply don't care.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written. Liked the character development. I enjoyed learning about the history of the flood and the characters involved.Published 8 months ago by Sylvia
This is a beautifully written book. I grew up in Johnstown, Pa. and was very familiar with the flood of 1889. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Janet L. Gilley
This book gives a real insight into the people, rich and poor, who lived in and around Johnstown before the flood. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Susan W. Calkins
This novel is basically a romance set against the back drop of the Johnstown, PA Flood of 1889. The characters, settings, and time period are meticulously detailed almost to the... Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Frances Scalise
Interesting story about the lives of the people in the path of the flood. Amazing how the potential problem was ignored.Published on August 16, 2013 by Janet R. Mercer
This is a well written novel that personalizes the people who lived in Johnston and visit the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club and the disaster of the flood. Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by J. W. Parana
Kathleen Cambor made you feel as though you had inside information as to exactly what went on at the Club. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by C. A. Martin
I think I was looking for something with more bite. The story line was not as smooth as it could have been. Read morePublished on April 11, 2013 by CONCHEM
what a drag. Hard to follow who the characters were and what they had to with the Johnstown flood. (not much). Read morePublished on August 2, 2012 by Amazon Customer