The story of a love-match in which comes conflict between the artistic temperament and the homemaking-instinct. Can a steadfast, home-loving woman and a brilliant, dynamic man find happiness together? If not, which will win out in the resultant clash of wills and temperament?
Stefan Byrd, artist, meets Mary, a beautiful English girl, on board ship. To him she is an inspiration, a creature of wings and flame. To her, unconsciously, he appeals as the answer to her unvoiced longing for a home and children.
After marriage her nest absobs her. "Mary," Stefan cries, "Your wings are gone." Her idea of life is: "To have a person and work that you love, and then to build--both of you a place, a position; to have friends,--and be a part of the community--so that your children--the immortal part of you--may grow up in a more enriching atmosphere."
The struggle of temperaments is developed with sympathy for both. The dramatic interest of the storygrows tenser as Stefan, chafing under hated domesticity, comes more under the influence of Felicity Berber, brilliant woman of exotic charm, and finds in her the stimulation of beauty and mystery that he craves.
ing her in Boston in the days when he preached there, penniless, searching for work as a teacher of singing. How she became jettisoned in that--to her--cold and inhospitable port, Stefan did not know, nor how soon after their marriage the two moved to the still more alien peninsula of Michigan.
Into his memories of the room where they painted a shadow constantly intruded, chilling them, such a shadow, deep and cold, as is cast by an iceberg. The door would open, and his father's face, high and white with ice-blue eyes, would hang above them. Instantly, the man remembered, the boy would cower like a fledgling beneath the sparrow-hawk, but with as much distaste as fear in his cringing. The words that followed always seemed the same--he could reconstruct the scene clearly, but whether it had occurred once or many times he could not tell. His father's voice would snap across the silence like a high, tight-drawn string--
"Still wasting time? Have you nothing better to do? Where is your sewing? And th
Nest Builder is an important novel from a leader in woman's rights (the author of 'What women want'), active in England and in the USA, at the turn of the last century. It is interesting and well written, though not a 'great' novel.