But indeed, he never cared about her, because he was not capable of caring. Escape is just not enough. Maureen is married to Troop, the half-brother of Mary's mother, and he is an emotionally sadistic man who is ruling his wife and his house by fear and intimidation. There was great potential here. I think I wondered twice if the protagonist was actually speaking, or merely thinking to herself.
May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Yet the setting of this novel as the world war ends and the flu pandemic begins is surely not just happenstance. Gibbons Ellen Foster ; On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon ; etc. I am perplexed, and through with Kaye Gibbons. Kaye has such a way of sucking you into a story and makes it so descriptive and thoroughly enjoyable. I struggled from the first page to stay with it because I kept hoping that it would get better; it seemed as if it had to because it really sounded like it would be an interesting story but it never took off. She's from North Carolina so one would expect a southern accent, but the reading came across as either her exaggerating the accent or over enunciating every syllable.
But the three generations of women in this novel are not quite focused, and the use of the grandparents in the beginning of the novel is quite disorganized. She's appalled by the treatment inflicted on Maureen by her uncle and provides the emotional support Maureen needs to change her life. In Ellen Foster, author has described the story of a young American girl of the white race, who lives under very unfavorable conditions in rural South. Dust jacket quality is not guaranteed. She is also very successful in her use of class as a theme of the book She is less successful in creating Troop, an emotional cripple, who controls his world by destroying others. Though her style and tone comes through beautifully in this book, the plot was a little bit lacking.
When Maureen, the wife, began to stand up to him, it became even worse. As Maureen's time grows near, she becomes convinced she will die in childbirth. It certainly fell short of being any memorable aspect of the book. What frustrated me about this story was that Troop's wife Maureen suddenly finds the strength and self-confidence to change her life for the better by leaving but the source of her new-found conviction is never revealed or clarified. I wanted to like this book, because the sensitive topic of abused women and hurtful relationships was quite realistic. The audio was definitely distracting.
Though these characters would probably be very interesting and well-written, the book becomes less focused and therefore less powerful because of the somewhat intriguing distractions. It was given to me by my grandmother and I had every intention of setting it aside, but when a shipping delay caused me to be without a book for a week - I picked it up. It is easily one of the best books of the year, if not of modern times. She has written several standalone books in her career, most of which are widely famous for their unique contents. The abused wife and the abusing husband were two roles that the author knew how to write, and for that I am giving it another half star that came very close to making this book a 3.
It is a quick read, but written in lovely prose by Kaye Gibbons. There are many things to be taken away from this book and I found myself wondering why it could not have fallen into my hands sooner. Even though Ellen Foster goes through an unhappy childhood, she is smart and clever. If so - how and when did this inner transformation take place? Maureen Ross, well past a safe childbearing age, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. First, however evil she was, her character was simply too cardboard to support what her son became. Although partially the result of Mary's arrival, it cannot be completely attributed to that.
She has also enjoyed the benefit of a variety of strong female role models, including her mother and grandmothers. I go into it expecting a strong female character but often they are weak and assuming. Further, I don't typically have a problem with detestable characters, but, egads! Mary is clear eyed and feels the heaviness in the air. It's a lovely story about women finding their independence, women supporting each other, and women finding their own inner strength. The support and understanding of women for other women, and the insight into the evil behaviors of the husband were incredible.
My first issue was that I didn't like the characters. So, in general, I do not recommend this book even though it is very well written. In this tale of marriage gone very wrong, a girl inspires in her tragic aunt the courage and motivation to challenge and leave her abusive husband, despite the fact that she is pregnant with their first child. In the same vein as Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall or Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Divining Women is the story of a woman's victory over her emotionally sadistic husband. I often found myself reading the same passage over and over to ensure that I got every drop of enjoyment out of it.
But as an examination of the strength and resiliance that women find in each other, it is a good read. I associated the silence in the homes of some of the Sun and Moon girls I visited with a poverty much more frightening than having no money to buy pretty things. But the worst was that the dialogue just never seemed to be of the period. The influenza epidemic, which was supposed to have a large role to play, never really came to anything. Then there is the pandemic of 1918 which this book touches on, and I do mean touches, no more.
Mary soon learns that her uncle Troop exercises an unhealthy at times sadistic power over Maureen that threatens her very sanity and the life of her unborn child. Autumn, 1918: Rumors of peace are spreading across America, but spreading even faster are the first cases of Spanish influenza, whispering of the epidemic to come. It was released by the Vintage Books publication in the year 1990, after its first publishing in 1987. I wish I could get my money back. She attended North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying American and English literature. The characters are flat and stereotypical -- Troop is a horrifying bully with no redeeming value, Maureen is an angelic saint, and the two black servants are long-suffering, downtrodden victims.