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Cascade

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Cascade Cover

ISBN13: 9780670026029
ISBN10: 0670026026
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During the 1930s, an artist and reluctant new wife struggles to reconcile her heart’s ambitions with the promises she has made

Cascade, Massachusetts, 1935. Desdemona Hart Spaulding, a promising young artist, abandoned her dreams of working in New York City to rescue her father. Two months later he is dead and Dez is stuck in a marriage to reliable but child-hungry Asa Spaulding. Dez also stands to lose her father’s legacy, the Cascade Shakespeare Theater, as the Massachusetts Water Authority decides whether to flood Cascade to create a reservoir.

Amid this turmoil arrives Jacob Solomon, a fellow artist for whom Dez feels an immediate and strong attraction. As their relationship reaches a pivotal moment, a man is found dead and the town accuses Jacob, a Jewish outsider. But the tide turns when Dez’s idea for a series of painted postcards is picked up by The American Sunday Standard and she abruptly finds herself back on the path to independence. New York City and a life with Jacob both beckon, but what will she have to give up along the way?

Synopsis:

During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a conflicted new wife seeks to reconcile her artistic ambitions with the binding promises she has made
 
Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.
            It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

About the Author

A graduate of Emerson College’s MFA program, Maryanne O’Hara was a longtime associate editor at Ploughshares magazine. Her short stories have been published in Five Points, The North American Review, The Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth. She lives near Boston with her family.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Silvers Reviews, February 2, 2013 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Cascade....a depression town that lost its playhouse. A playhouse that was a wedding gift to Asa by his father-in-law, William Hart, when he married his daughter Dez. Dez, who married not for love, but because she had no place to live and no money so she settled for Asa.

Dez didn't realize that marrying Asa was a mistake until she wanted to be with another man and wanted to pursue her art career. Dez and Jacob had more in common than she and her husband did...Jacob was an artist and Asa was a pharmacist who didn't have the same passions or want the same things out of life that Dez did.

Asa and Dez were the main characters and had the main role in what was hanging over the heads of every citizen of Cascade. The citizens didn't know whether their town was going to be turned into a reservoir for Boston or if the town would be brought back to life by the re-opening of the playhouse that would bring people back to the town and that would fulfill William Hart's dreams. The playhouse was what held the town together and was one of the major themes in CASCADE.

The book was a perfectly modeled description of this era, and the characters were authentic for the time period. The depression-era wives were portrayed as wives that cooked, ironed, and were there when their husbands arrived home at night after work. The town with its pharmacy and snack bar was perfectly represented as you picture the counter, the food, and the customers as you know they were at that time....very enjoyable.

Each character had special qualities that kept your interest. Dez was a very likable character, but one that needed to be more realistic and to realize she was in the best place she could be socially and marriage wise, but she thankfully didn't see that and had other dreams. Asa was a bit unlikeable because of his aloofness to his wife and other characters. Jacob was representated as loveable, but one that caused heartache to Dez her entire life.

Ms.O'Hara's descriptions of the simplest things such as window blinds, building facades, landscapes, and even wooden floors were skillfully carried out. Her descriptions of facial features and feelings were vividly pictured. The reader definitely will become a part of each character, the town's problem, and specifically the fragility of Asa and Dez's relationship....it seemed as though the story was purposely "painted" dramatically and theatrically for the reader along with a well-thought out, "flowing "plot.

You as a reader also undeniably cannot ignore the gorgeous cover that brings together the two most poignant features of the book....the river and Dez who mesmerize and represent the basis of the book. The author explained the cover's meaning to me as this: "The Penguin Art Department created the cover... the idea being that the cascading waterfall is a metaphor for all the turmoil going on in her head, as well as being a beautiful
'piece of art.' "

CASCADE is a beautiful book that will definitely make you think and will remain with you long after you turn the last page. It is a book about life's choices and decisions. Don't let the slow start keep you from continuing. The entire book is as spectacular as its cover. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author without compensation in return for an honest review.
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techeditor, January 6, 2013 (view all comments by techeditor)
CASCADE by Maryanne O'Hara is a gorgeously written novel about a young artist in the 1930s who married a man because he had money at a time when she and her father didn't, when they needed a home. Soon after the marriage, her father dies, and soon after that she befriends another man, a fellow artist. Then their small town, Cascade, becomes Massachusetts' choice city to flood, to become a reservoir for Boston.

This book would be perfect for the reader who likes well-written romances that are far and away better than most books called romances. CASCADE has a story that does not depend on descriptions of sexual gymnastics.

Still, I wanted again and again to skip through paragraphs and pages. A couple times I even considered giving up on the book entirely. That is because O'Hara makes the common mistake of what I call "too much rumination."

The main character, Dez (Desdemona Hart), thinks, at length, too much. If the purpose of a novel is to capture and hold a reader's attention, to entertain them, CASCADE wanders from that intention too often with excessive narration.

I believe that is the reason one reviewer said she could not finish this book. She thinks the reason is Dez. She thinks that Dez is too unlikeable to care about.

But who says a reader has to like a main character for a book to be a success? Granted, Dez is detestable. She marries a good-looking successful pharmacist, Asa, just so she and her father have a home. At her every mean and selfish act, Asa forgives, even goes out of his way to be kind. How could she not love someone like that? Instead, she chases after another man, one she continues to love for years and years.

Don't think that this storyline goes the way of GONE WITH THE WIND. But it would have been nice to see Asa tell Dez that he no longer gives a damn.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780670026029
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Ohara, Maryanne
Author:
O'Hara, Maryanne
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20130430
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Cascade Used Hardcover
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Viking Books - English 9780670026029 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a conflicted new wife seeks to reconcile her artistic ambitions with the binding promises she has made
 
Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.
            It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

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