I received this email from Gretchen Gudefin about The Country of the Pointed Firs, which I am now reading. She wrote,
Anything by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) . As an up and coming writer at the turn of the 20thC, Willa Cather idolized Jewett who took her under her wing and mentored her. Cather even dedicated "O! Pioneers" to her. Jewett is best known ( and loved ) for her stories of the small seaport towns of Maine in the late 1800s where she was born and raised as were generations of her long family line. She populates her world with strong and endearing women both young and old, most of whom are carving out lives for themselves in what is a bit of a matriarchal society with the menfolk often out to sea. Charming, funny, often nostalgic and sentimental and some of the most gorgeous, poetic prose you will ever read. "Country of the Pointed Firs" is perhaps her best known, most beloved work and tells the story (in first person) of an author who leaves her village to travel "Down East" to a small island off the coast for inspiration and time to write…
Jewett’s work is deeply evocative of her time and place ( and may not have appeal outside of New England ) but I could not resist recommending her to you, with "Country of the Pointed Firs” being the probably the best introduction to her writing.
Above is the original vintage cover of the book which was published in the late 19th century. A few lines will help you to understand why I'm enjoying it…
We were standing where there was a fine view of the harbor and its long stretches of shore all covered by the great army of the pointed firs, darkly cloaked and standing as if they waited to embark. As we looked far seaward among the outer islands, the trees seemed to march seaward still, going steadily over the heights and down to the water's edge.
I finished The Farm in a couple of days. The ending was sort of abrupt, but even so I did enjoy the story. I would never describe it as a remarkable achievement, but it was solid enough to keep me turning the pages. Book reviews are so subjective. I almost never find them reliable. Each person is really on their own when it comes to finding a good story to fit what they crave. Here is what I've read lately and what I've sampled.
I'm not sure where I'm headed next, but I am in no hurry to get there. I think I'll hang out in pointed fir country for awhile. If you start reading it I'll see you in Mrs. Todd's garden.