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Beautifully scripted characters add depth to this alluring novel. Against the spectacular backdrop of the sea, Honora's collection of sea glass provides a sense of normality to a troubled marriage. Throughout the ever-changing moments of her life, she is portrayed as an amazing young woman who stalwartly deals with whatever life seems to throw her way, an unusual feat for a 20-year-old.
In 1929, 20-year-old Honora Willard married typewriter salesman, Sexton Beecher. Living in a dilapidated house near the ocean in New England, the two try to make the best of married life. Honora's favorite pastime becomes searching for odd bits of colored glass beached on the shore. But the stock market crash and Sexton's dishonest bank dealings cause him to lose his job and his prized automobile.
Forced to work in a mill in nearby Ely Falls, Sexton becomes withdrawn and moody. Meanwhile, Honora becomes fast friends with Vivian, a bored young socialite.
As the conditions at the mill worsen, happenings in Ely Falls are described with an eerie reality. Sexton gets involved with union organizer Louis Mironson and mill worker Quillen McDermott. When tragedy strikes, Honora must face some disturbing feelings and truths about her husband.
(Apr., 384 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick
Publisher: Little, Brown
Published: April 2002