The first half of the story was excellent. The author painted a word picture of life in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. I felt instant sympathy for the protagonist and for her young charge who was smart, beautiful, damaged and completely undisciplined. For movie buffs, even this fictional glimpse of a reigning beauty queen is a treat. My admiration for Cora was based as much on her ability to learn and change as well as her pragmatic approach to life. I might add here that the narrator helped me to know both characters. Elizabeth McGovern knows her craft.
The second half of the book was a complete disappointment. I felt the end of the story was contrived and not satisfactory at all. Actually I half listened until the end. I wished for better for the plucky woman who headed off to find her roots. Even as a fictional character she deserved a more honest life.
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