Set in a small town in Wisconsin, Ansay's debut novel reveals one woman's desperation to free herself from stifling, narrow-minded expectations. Ellen Grier lives with her rigid in-laws. Her resignation resounds as she acts the role of married "lady" in a devoutly Catholic home. Mother-in-law Mary-Margaret is cranky and cruel, portrayed by Monk in a relentless snarl. The other females are equally believable. Monk's male voices, however, are less strong as they are unevenly attempted, but the triumphant struggle for Ellen's spirit is not diminished.
It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen brings her two children to Vinegar Hill, the home of her in-laws. It's a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine. Calculated cruelty is a way of life there, preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God.
Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young woman's passionate spirit. Ellen must find the strength to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.
©2003 A. Manette Ansay; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
I really struggled to finish this book, it was only the narrator who made it bearable, she did what she could. I don't think I would have bothered to keep turning pages, the fact that some e was reading it to me, made it more likely for me to finish. I wish i had known that it was endorsed by Oprah before starting, a sad story about a Co dependent middle aged woman. We didn't even get the mild satisfaction of actually seeing the protagonist do anything about her situation, just resolve to do so. She probably didn't. I will give it to the author, she certainly created atmosphere, I was perfectly depressed when I was done.
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