A young man becomes transfixed by a beautiful widow with a shadowy past.
In Pequot Landing, there are two sights to see: The largest elm in America, which dominates the stately old village green, and the house of Lady Harleigh. When the Great War ended, she was the most beautiful bride in the village, and though she was widowed soon after, mourning dampened neither her beauty nor her spirits. By the time the Great Depression rolls around, she is the unchallenged center of Pequot society - lovely and energetic, but subject to bouts of grim melancholy that hint at something dark beneath her surface.
Woody is eight years old when he first notices the Lady, and her glittering elegance captures his heart. He spends his boyhood deeply in love with the mysterious widow, obsessed with the sadness that lies at her core. As he gets closer to her, he finds that Lady Harleigh is haunted - not just by grief, but by a scandalous secret that, if revealed, could change Pequot Landing forever.
©1974 Thomas Tryon (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I love the story. I originally read this many years ago.But the narrator is terrible. His pacing is bad and his terrible voice for Lady makes her sound silly, even stupid. I could hardly stand to listen to him. Add to that he pauses oddly throughout the reading and makes it even harder to listen to. If possible one is better off reading the book and imagining the voices.
I read this book over 35 years ago and adored it - so I was looking forward to revisiting it and listening to the audio version. Perhaps the director should be blamed for allowing the narrator to use a ridiculous Minnie Mouse voice for the title character. It may seem like a little thing, but it ruined the story for me. Every time Lady opens her mouth to speak it sounds like the voice from the old Mr Bill videos on Saturday Night Live. And did no one in the audio booth, (the director, the engineer, the janitor) not notice that the narrator mispronounced some pretty common words? I realize that this book is probably not much in demand anymore, but it's a shame it was produced so sloppily.
I read Thomas Tryon's earlier books many years ago and remembered them as eery mystical novels with clever twists, so this sweet coming-of-age narrative was initially something of a disappointment. As the story went on, however, I became immersed in the characters and the relationships. A young boy in Connecticut is nurtured by a dignified woman who lives is a large house across the green. Lady is cared for by her two exotic servants, both from the Caribbean, living in the house she inherited from her long-dead husband. Childless, she gives generously of her time and resources to children, especially the narrator, becoming a sort of adopted Aunt/Grandmother/Grand Dame. The story creates a larger community, mostly of other children but also of the adults who help raise the children in a village where everyone knows everyone else's business. At the end, secrets are revealed, relationships are broken and repaired, and children become adults. Tryon retains his flair for twists that are unexpected but that fit clearly into the narrative. I enjoyed the book.
I did not enjoy the narrative. Church mispronounced words repeatedly, jarring me out of the flow of the book. One example I remember vividly was pronouncing "invalid" in the meaning of "untrue or false" when the meaning was "unwell." These were sprinkled randomly but frequently through the book. Worse, he uses a high-pitched, sing-song voice for the title character, Lady. It undercut the dignity of the character and grated every time. I will avoid this narrator in the future.
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