Clica una miniatura per anar a Google Books.
Hester: A Novel (edició 2022)
de Laurie Lico Albanese (Autor)
Informació de l'obra
Hester de Laurie Lico Albanese
No hi ha cap discussió a Converses sobre aquesta obra.
Firstly, thank you to netgalley for an e-ARC of this book for my honest review.
Solid 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 because after sleeping on it I still have a pretty positive feeling about it.
The start of this book is enchanting. I loved it. I think I should've been made more aware that this was going to involve an OC literally having a romance with Nathaniel Hawthorne and is not a Scarlet Letter retelling. It's more of an alternate history but it affects only a 1 year period and the universe continues as we know it. I don't find this bad, necessarily, but it did catch me off-guard for a moment.
Isobel and her backstory are well written and complex. Almost every character has some ulterior motive or complex narrative and are each attractive in their own way
The themes of repeating history, how tragic events can separate people for generations (the accused and the accusers), and hidden truths, are woven together throughout the narrative and the prose is nice, sometimes a little purple - usually
I think my only issues were:
Roughly halfway through the book Isobel is painfully ignorant on many issues, including the slave trade (and I mean like NO IDEA about slaves? really?), classism, sexual assault etc. Which are all things she had plenty of opportunity to learn/hear about in Scotland. I know that Isobel is like 17/18 at this point, and that it's super plot dependent that she doesn't just figure things out, but she was so stupid about some sensitive topics that I almost put the book down in disgust. It got better, it did, but that one section was so painful.
The ending was lackluster - and honestly if it had been more thought-out and maybe focused more on Isobel's life after her brief stint with Nathaniel, I would've given a 5 star rating. It's just too glazed over. I wanted to see more of her and
It's never mentioned that Nathaniel Hawthorne has a deeply emotional affair with Herman Melville. :( /j
Isobel sails with her husband Edward from Scotland to Salem in the early 1800s, but before they are settled, he has agreed to leave again - and he steals all her savings, which she was planning to use to start her own dress shop. Furious at Edward, Isobel gets by as best she can, sewing gloves for Felicity Adams and watching her take an unfair cut. Isobel falls in love with Nat Hathorne, a writer haunted by his family's past; his ancestor was an unrepentant participant in the Salem witch trials. Isobel's own ancestor was accused of witchcraft back in Scotland in the 1600s, but escaped death. Isobel is sure that Edward won't return, but when he does, he is under the spell of poppy and rum, and has a scheme to catch runaway slaves for the reward, an idea abhorrent to Isobel, as she is friends with her Black neighbors. Isobel must decide, for herself and for her unborn baby, whether to stay in Salem or start over somewhere else.
Beautiful, deeply absorbing.
This was the one good thing that came of losing the colors - I could read, and the words dropped away as they were meant to, leaving pictures, people, places, and tales in their stead. (14)
One expression of impatience and he says I have a temper! Why is it that men are not subject to the same quick judgments as women? (75)
Before we arrived, I thought the New World was made by and for new people. But here in Salem it seems there is a long requisite of what a person must do, say, and be, in order to be truly American. (98)
"What's true is often hidden from sight - religious fervor disguises cruelty, dark desires hide behind a mask of conformity." (Nat to Isobel, 98)
And yet I'm certain that my needlework is more than pleasantry and ornament. (102)
And yet silence doesn't protect us from the past, as I well know. When a legacy haunts a family the echoes reverberate even if no one hears them. (142)
"But there's another kind of strength we've got....It comes from knowing the difference between who you are and who they think you are." (Mercy to Isobel, 160)
Why do men bind themselves to a flag and a nation when women bind themselves to passion and love? Why do men fixate on the past when every woman I have ever known is trying to remedy the present while she builds hope for what is to come? (193)
I've told him my secrets and shown him my passion, and he's made a deep mark upon me. And still, he looks at me and sees only himself. (202)
Is Nat a cruel man or is he a weak man? ...Perhaps he is both. (252)
I've seen how justice and the law work for some and not for others. Even in Scotland there was rich man's law and poor man's law. (292)
It's not that we are witches or faeries or that we deny God. It is that we are more beautiful and strong together than apart. (299)
Given the fact that “The Scarlet Letter” was one of my favorite books during my high school days, I was eager to read “Hester.” Laurie Lico Albanese does not disappoint. This creative reimagining of the origins of Hawthorne’s classic is utterly delightful. It’s a tale that brilliantly juggles a blend of themes that include family secrets, romance, cruelty, hope and history. Albanese’s vivid but sparing prose should be used as a template by other verbose yet wildly successful authors who seemingly ignore the tired adage that “less is more.” I rarely read a book more than once. I have a hunch that “Hester” might be one of the books that I revisit before the end of the decade.
HESTER is a fascinating new work of fiction inspired by an iconic American classic, The Scarlet Letter. While Hawthorne was clearly a product of his own time and circumstances in writing about Hester, Laurie Lico Albanese infuses her own Hester, Isobel, with what we 21st century women would think of as modern day feminist thought and ideas but that I'm sure were not entirely out of place in the early 19th century. A hundred- and fifty-years post-witch trials, Salem is still an unfriendly place to women who don’t fit the norm, whose families haven’t been well established for generations. A feeling of otherness that just about any woman can relate to, from living in a small new town to having interests and ideas that go against the societal flow, is, at times, crushing in our heroine Isobel’s Salem. With prose as colorful as the words and feelings Isobel experiences herself, Albanese weaves together a new timeless tale with women’s courage and perseverance squarely at its heart.
Es mostren 1-5 de 18 (següent | mostra-les totes)
In this retelling of Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter,' a gifted seamstress embroiders color into a society shrouded in its sins. ...As "Hester" unspools in Albanese's vivid and emotionally rich novel, Isobel reveals the story of her female ancestor, another Isobel, who was caught up in one of the last gasps of the European witch panics. ...Albanese has written a novel that brings together 17th-century witch trials with the novel for which Hawthorne is most famous
TNathaniel Hawthorne plays an unexpected role in this lively fictional look at the origins of his masterpiece. his novel reimagines The Scarlet Letter from the point of view of a woman who might have inspired Hester Prynne.
A vivid reimagining of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and a journey into the enduring legacy of New England's witchcraft trials. Who is the real Hester Prynne? Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Edinburgh for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they've arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic--leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible. When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows--while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward's safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which? In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country's complicated past, and learns that America's ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel's story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a "real" American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of "unusual" women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Laurie Lico Albanese's Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition, and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.
No s'han trobat descripcions de biblioteca.
Amazon Kindle (0 edicions)
Audible (0 edicions)
CD Audiobook (0 edicions)
Project Gutenberg (0 edicions)
Google Books — S'està carregant…
Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Fes-te Autor del LibraryThing.
Serving as the ship’s doctor on the passage to Salem, he signs on again in that capacity for a respectable merchant captain, leaving his bride to fend for herself. He remains on shore long enough to arrange her living conditions without consulting her and will brook no discussion; he also issues strict orders that hamstring her efforts to get along in his absence.
Said absence, as you may have guessed, leaves Isobel with mixed feelings. She worries how she’ll cope, knowing nobody in Salem, which seems a closed, exclusive society, especially mistrustful of immigrants. Moreover, she’s got almost no resources save her nimble fingers and a needle, and seamstresses are a penny a dozen. Potential employers, who depend on the carriage trade, are as snobby as their customers and exact draconian terms of service against which Isobel has no recourse.
There’s yet another secret to hide. Isobel possesses the rare cognitive ability to see letters and words as colors, which lends her embroidery a singular flair. But this phenomenon, known today as synesthesia, frightens her, because the world calls it unnatural and evil; indeed, the female ancestor who passed it on was accused of witchcraft. Consequently, as a child, Isobel was taught never to reveal her gift.
Well, you say, she’s in Salem now, and we all know what happened there. Not only that, she meets Nathaniel Hathorne, whose ancestor was an unrepentant judge at those infamous trials. That history has haunted the up-and-coming writer so deeply he’ll later add a “w” to his name, hoping to differentiate himself from his predecessor. And any novel titled Hester evokes the heroine of The Scarlet Letter.
Accordingly, I don’t have to tell you that the gloomy Nat, who feels like an outcast, and the desperate, lonely Isobel, who is one, bond instantly. Without putting too fine a point on it, and at the risk of repeating the publicity copy, the two bewitch each other. And I might not have to tell you that Isobel sees the letter “A” as red, or that her skill with a needle, as well as her passionate nature, impresses Hathorne.
Albanese writes beautifully, and Hester has much going for it, despite several events whose literary predictability is a given. That's because Edward’s pending return, Isobel’s ambivalence about it, and the price she’ll pay if anyone discovers her with Hathorne throw plenty of fuel on the fire. So do the two principals, who talk past each other, quarrel, and withhold the way lovers do.
A couple minor characters stand out too, notably one employer who pays Isobel a pittance and threatens to blacklist her if she tries to get more money elsewhere. Black characters and the slavery theme they embody feel shoehorned in, at first, but they make sense eventually. Albanese pulls no punches with either the major or minor characters, who suffer setbacks, and the reader senses long before Isobel does that her author swain is more complicated than she believed.
I could have done without the brief, italicized backstory chapters about Isobel’s alleged witch ancestor, which I think add nothing and try to wrap the theme in a pretty bow. We’ve already got Salem, where they still talk about witchcraft in 1829 and ostracize women who so much as appear to test societal constraints—though those with enough money get away with it, which makes the point clear enough. We also have Hathorne, who walks around with the guilt his forbear never admitted. Enough said.
But Hester’s worth your time, whether or not you’ve read The Scarlet Letter, and I recommend it. ( )