Sep. 23rd, 2010

Tracy Park

Sep. 23rd, 2010 12:18 pm
melodiousb: (haze)
[personal profile] melodiousb
So. Tracy Park. Long family novel, written by Mary Jane Holmes, published in the 1880s. Possibly under the title Gretchen.

To be honest, it's not a great book. But I love it.

It's about the the Tracy family, and how crazy Arthur goes off to Europe, leaving his house and land in the hands of his brother Frank, and how when he returns, he finds that Frank has settled in a lot more comfortably than he expected. And it's about Jerrie, a German orphan who arrives in town not long after Arthur's return and bears a close resemblance to Arthur's new stained glass window.

It's all fairly melodramatic and silly; what redeems it is the characters. There are a lot of them, and sometimes they do bad things, but none of them are evil, and they all have reasons for their actions, which is more than you can say about a lot of books that are mostly better than this one.

Almost every character has an obvious inner life and is worthy of his or her own story. Especially the nouveau riche Peterkins--I want the story of Ann Eliza and Tom Tracy getting married and going off to Paris and falling in love. I want Billy to go out west and have adventures and find some people who appreciate him. And it's not just the Peterkins. I want to read about Dolly Tracy as a snowbird, about Arthur's travels, about Jerrie and Ann Eliza and Marion and Nina at Vassar. The scope of the book is so large that within it there is room for a dozen other novels. And sometimes I feel like Holmes doesn't do her own characters the justice they deserve.

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