Considered Jewett's finest work, and described by Henry James as her ''beautiful little quantum of achievement.'' Despite James's diminutives, the novel remains a classic. Because it is loosely structured, many critics view the book not as a novel, but a series of sketches; however, its structure is unified through both setting and theme. Jewett herself felt that her strengths as a writer lay not in plot development or dramatic tension, but in character development. Indeed, she determined early in her career to preserve a disappearing way of life, and her novel can be read as a study of the effects of isolation and hardship on the inhabitants who lived in the decaying fishing villages along the Maine coast.
remedy, and its price was but fifteen cents; the whispered directions could be heard as customers passed the windows. With most remedies the purchaser was allowed to depart unadmonished from the kitchen, Mrs. Todd being a wise saver of steps; but with certain vials she gave cautions, standing in the doorway, and there were other doses which had to be accompanied on their healing way as far as the gate, while she muttered long chapters of directions, and kept up an air of secrecy and importance to the last. It may not have been only the common aids of humanity with which she tried to cope; it seemed sometimes as if love and hate and jealousy and adverse winds at sea might also find their proper remedies among the curious wild-looking plants in Mrs. Todd's garden.
The village doctor and this learned herbalist were upon the best of terms. The good man may have counted upon the unfavorable effect of certain potions which he should find his opportunity in counteracting; at any rate, he now and then stopped
If you read this book you will spend a quiet leisurely Summer in a small New England fishing village.
Eventually you will become acquainted with the people of the town as they share their stories with you. You will learn about local families, local characters, and a little of their local history. Through these conversations you will acquire a sense of who they are and what they value.
But before long you will realize that Summer is over and regretfully you have to leave.
Amazingly good considering the author is writng about ordianry life in Maine a century ago. I enjoyed the book which is really a colection of a few short stories. Gives a great feel of ordinary life and people enjoying it.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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