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Ilsa, de Madeleine L'Engle
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Ilsa, (1946 original; edició 1946)

de Madeleine L'Engle

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532413,887 (3.27)12
Long out of print, the second novel by the bestselling author of A Wrinkle in Time looks at the darker side of love in a Southern town. From the moment Henry Porcher first sees Ilsa Brandes, he worships her. Despite controversy surrounding the young girl, Henry is drawn to her, a fascination that turns into a lifelong infatuation.   As the years pass, Ilsa's memory never leaves him, not until the day he returns to their sleepy Southern hometown and renews their childhood friendship. Henry watches as she becomes a wife, then a mother, then a widow, irrevocably changed by tragedy.   Out of print for nearly six decades, this rare and sought-after novel is a portrait of a remarkable woman bound by both the stifling conventions of her time and place, and her own sense of honor and purpose.   A departure from L'Engle's later works, Ilsa is a dark, intriguing novel about passion, fixation, and the real price of unrequited love by an author renowned for her children's classics as well as her candid personal memoirs.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Madeleine L'Engle including rare images from the author's estate.  … (més)
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I have read every Madeleine L'Engle novel and while I like some much better than others I enjoy all of them at least in part. This is not one of my favorite books by her but it is still quite good. Her writing style always engages me and I find at least one character in every one of her books that I can relate to in some way. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
This was my first novel by Madeleine L’Engle and for the most part, I found it an engaging and enjoyable read. I definitely was more interested in the first half of the novel, but found last half a bit disappointing.

The disappointment is mainly due to the character of Henry. We meet Henry as a young boy when he discovers a new friend, Ilsa, who is a few years older. He becomes fascinated by Ilsa. As the years pass, Henry never grows out of this fascination, even though he spends several years away from her. In the novel, we never see Henry in any setting that does not involve Ilsa, so it seems we are only privy to one aspect of his character.

When Henry decides to go home, he naturally gravitates to Ilsa again. I felt like at this point the novel lost it’s steam due to the fact that Henry never seems to grow (or grow up). He has no drive or ambition and seems to follow Ilsa much as a loyal dog follows its master. Henry became quite pathetic to me. As an adult, he had opportunities to try and take his relationship with Ilsa to the next level, but never acted upon them. By the time he did, Ilsa did not see him as a romantic partner and certainly she may never have seen him in that role.

There are several themes running throughout the novel that would make for great discussion. L’Engle presents the subjects of dysfunctional families, marital abuse, alcoholism and bigotry, among other things. She also presents some eccentric Southern characters who are able to demonstrate love and acceptance, a sense of responsibility towards others and the value of close family ties.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Ilsa and look forward to reading more from L’Engle in the future. I think any reader who likes Ann Patchett will enjoy this novel as well. There are a few typos in the kindle edition I read that need correcting, but this did not affect the content in any way.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for allowing me to read a copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  tamidale | May 13, 2017 |
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Long out of print, the second novel by the bestselling author of A Wrinkle in Time looks at the darker side of love in a Southern town. From the moment Henry Porcher first sees Ilsa Brandes, he worships her. Despite controversy surrounding the young girl, Henry is drawn to her, a fascination that turns into a lifelong infatuation.   As the years pass, Ilsa's memory never leaves him, not until the day he returns to their sleepy Southern hometown and renews their childhood friendship. Henry watches as she becomes a wife, then a mother, then a widow, irrevocably changed by tragedy.   Out of print for nearly six decades, this rare and sought-after novel is a portrait of a remarkable woman bound by both the stifling conventions of her time and place, and her own sense of honor and purpose.   A departure from L'Engle's later works, Ilsa is a dark, intriguing novel about passion, fixation, and the real price of unrequited love by an author renowned for her children's classics as well as her candid personal memoirs.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Madeleine L'Engle including rare images from the author's estate.  

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