Early Autumn

 Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1927, Early Autumn tells the story of a declining New England family - the old money, closed ranks kind of family you are either born into or forever shut out of. And whose members would most likely never be guilty of ending a sentence with a preposition. 

Olivia married into the family when she wed Anson Pentland, son of family patriarch, John Pentland. It was not a love match but she was beautiful and tolerably acceptable and he needed a wife to bear his children. Two children and some years later, their only son suffers from a fatal illness, threatening the end of the Pentland line and inheritance. Their daughter falls in love with an Irish boy who does not meet Pentland expectations and Olivia attracts the affections of an up and coming local man, causing Anson to sit up and take notice when he'd much prefer to continue pretending his family is all genteel respectability.  

I usually love the language of this period but the vocabulary here was repetitive. Certain words, enchantment/enchanting among them, were used often enough to lose any meaning they were meant to convey. The dialogue was good but the prose in a few places was a bit slow and tedious to wade through.

There's not a great deal of plot, but the insight into an established society family at that time in history makes it interesting, and its observations about life, family, and duty give it depth. The story may not stick with me but I did enjoy the reading of it. 


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