When I first started reading this, my reaction was: "\o/! It's like reading Henry James if Henry James wasn't such a pompous ass." But, because I've been lazy about writing these up, I've had time to think. Now my reaction is more like, "Meh. The poor man's Henry James."
It's just ... oh. The writing was lovely, and I liked all the characters, but I don't feel there was enough tension. Maybe May needed to be more hardcore, or Archer more wimpy, or Ellen more vampy. I DON'T KNOW. Certainly the epilogue could have been cut with ease. I have a hard time thinking of any part of the first half of the twentieth century being a free and easy time, so that doesn't sit well. Nor does the infodump about Archer's life. It was so predictable that he didn't go in to see Ellen. All that angst would have been rather pointless if she'd welcomed him with open arms.
It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.
Yes ... I really liked this at the time, but. Have YOU ever seen anything in someone's eyes? Because I never do. Their face, yes; eyes, never.
"What you've all contrived to make it," he felt like answering. "If you'd all of you rather she should be Beaufort's mistress than some decent fellow's wife you've certainly gone the right way about it."
Again! This was LOL DRAMA at the time of reading, and now I can't really remember why I marked it.
where a few hardy Bostonians and Philadelphians were camping in 'native' cottages
I have to say I was on May's side here. I also understand the argument about wanting to show off pretty new clothes. Um. Hi, I'm a philistine?
"It was Beaufort when he covered you in jewels, and it's got to stay Beaufort now he's covered you in shame."
I wonder why the strains of 'Stand By Your Man' are wafting through my head right now...
Each time you happen to me all over again.
So romantic. And so ... Harlequiney. YES, I DID GO THERE.
Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan