Through the crystal clear sky tinged as blue as the purest waters from the sea, a new day is dawning in all the glorious splendor Mother Nature can muster. With the aid of her paint brush, the world is seen anew through a kaliedescope of colors, imparting the whisper of promise that each new beginning speaks of. To whom where these words spoken and what of their meaning? To every available soul beneath the unending sky that lends the ears of a dreamer to her mouth...
Hi there! Bet you're wondering about that opening there....(oh, just admit it, you know you are and things will go much faster that way). Well, in the spirit of today's post, it just felt appropriate to go for an opening with a bit of grandeur, a little pomp, a little....oomph. I just needed something to set the stage for the title being reviewed today. What is that title? Ahh, I see you are a curious one indeed! Well, I suppose there is no harm in jumping right to the reveal, after all, this one leaves a bit to discuss (you'll see), but I'm afraid I must spare a quick line or so to prevent you from being lost (virtual search parties are WAY to complicated). To allow the title featured today to have a good chance of leaving it's mark on you, it is highly suggested that you've read The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
, or at the very least know the basics of the story. Today's book of choice is....
This is the story of Hester Prynne...but more so of her daughter, Pearl. In the original classic to which many hold dear, we heard Hester's story, felt her pain and humilation, and wished beyond hope for here to suffer no longer (or at the very least for the sniffling rogue to admit his ill deeds and right the wrong she alone was forced to bear...but I digress...). The impish Pearl was but a child and near the end of the tale we learn of her move to Europe, but never the events that transpired between point A and point B. This space in literary time is what this novel sets out to fill. From the brave faced little girl that received her own share of the scorn shown to her mother, to the teasing lass showing both kindness and abandonment as she saw fit to a young blind boy named Simon who would prove to be attached to her heart in more ways than one, and finally to a grown woman despite to erase her own mistakes in the sight of her husband and yet unable to completely condemn her actions as well as their consquences....this is a multifaceted character that is explored to her fullest extend. What would happen during the days, months, and years following Hester's decent into the lowest depths of public opinion? You're about to find out.... (not from me....silly reader....you have to read the book...)
Author Deborah Noyes hits the nail on the head in regards to the writing and story telling style she employs. It definitely flows similiar in nature to the Hawthorne-ian classic we love. The events that transpire show us that even one born in the most inconvenient of times and un-acceptable ways can prevail over the odds stacked against them. Her tale also imparts a lesson that is applicable to real life. The phrase that comes to mind is "The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son". Grant it, I'm not certain where the quote came from originally (yeah, Google was a bit confused as well....way too many references)...however if we change father to mother and son to daughter, we've got a good match for the story that unfolds.
Pearl's fearless nature ends up putting her in similar circumstances...ones familiar in so many ways to that of her mother's "sins". Now this isn't to say that just because your parents lives went in one direction due to mistakes or ill judgements along the way that you will never break free of them...it just goes to show that in many ways we do end up as our parents before us. (I'll give you a moment to shake your head in despair and cry "NO" to the ceiling.....are you done?) It is inevitable. We are a product, if you will, of our upbringing and as much as we are able to change we do, but there are some things that are naturally ingrained in our characters that can not be altered. (If you haven't had a moment where you sound like your mother or father yet, don't worry...you will.....muuuuhahahahaha) In this way, the characters were believeable if not heart-wrenching at times as they sought to find their place in life. (Now on to my little concern...)
I never could really wrap my head around one part though....it's how the author re-imagined the base story line. Okay, so we know it's a take off from the original The Scarlet Letter
, right? If that is the case, **SPOILER ALERT** how is it that Dimmesdale is not the father of Pearl? I mean, the original story has Hester alone in the new settlement, she is eventually with child, and since her husband has been away it's a bit obvious that adultery has been committed. (Henceforth where the scarlet "A" comes from..) This book was represented as a continuation of her story or at the very least the details behind how Pearl came to be in Europe and the way her life progressed. **END OF SPOILER...I THINK** Had I known the "creative freedom" taken with the original details from the beginning, I think I may have enjoyed the story even more. As it was, I was a bit confused...so much so that I even took to reading a quick notes type version of The Scarlet Letter
so that I could refresh my memory on who was who and to whom. (If you would like a refresher before starting, click the link in the first paragraph or so of this post.)
All things considered, it was an enjoyable read. I felt strongly for Pearl as she wanted to so much from life, and strived to have it all. Her best friend (and then some) Simon, the blind boy from her childhood...will have you emotional caught up in his daily struggle to interpret a world not often kind to those in his position. The "kindly" Dr. Devlin (a fitting name indeed, if you just rearrange the letters and subtract one) who swoops in like a summers mist to help the ill stricken folks of the New England town and later lends aid as only he could with a revelation none too discreet. If you venture into this book, prepare for an interesting ride to say the least....
Copy for review received courtesy of Caitlin at Unbridled Books
! (THANKS!) To find out more about this title and more, check out their site
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(In my search for pictures to include with this post, I discovered this rather funny comic...enjoy!)
Until next time....happy reading!