Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cascade; Maryanne O'Hara

Title:  Cascade
Author:  Maryanne O'Hara
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Viking
Edition: eGalley
Setting: MA and NYC
Source: NetGalley
Date Completed: December/2012
Rating: 4.5/5 
Recommend: yes

Desdemona (Dez) Hart Spaulding, is an independent woman, a gifted young artist who has studied in Boston and even Paris.  Her dreams of living in the big city and making it big in the art world are set aside because of a promise she made to father, John Hart, a former actor,  who lost his fortune and was even forced to close his Cascade Shakespearean Theater when the Depression hit. 

Following her father's advice Dez marries the older, but sensible Asa Spaulding, a pharmacist who is anxious to start of family, something Dez is not ready for.  When her father dies just two months after their marriage, she learns that he has left his theater to her husband, but wants Dez to see that it opens once again.

At the same time, something else is going on that has the potential of affecting the town of Cascade. Her father's dream of his theater reopen in Cascade, MA may not happen if plans by the state to build a new reservoir by flooding several small towns goes through.  Dez begins throwing her energy into her painting and art by capturing Cascade as it is (pre-flood) in the form of postcards.  When a Jewish artist from New York, now traveling salesman, breezes into town, he and Dez feel a bond because of their love of art, but townspeople with anti-Semitic views see him as a suspicious outsider.  For Dez, when a New York magazine seems interested in her art, she must decide what to do. Stay with Asa or pursue her dreams.

This was an wonderful debut novel which appealed to me for several reasons. The author beautifully detailed life in New England in the 1930s as well as what Greenwich Village in New York must have been like at that time as well.  The author really creates a realistic dilemma -- doing what's right or following one's heart.  The characters as well as the impending doom surrounding the flooding of the towns seemed believable as well. Oh, and I almost forgot, a surprise ending as well.

Another reason I found the story so interesting was that, although this was a work of fiction, the story, at least in part, was based on a similar event that occurred about 20 miles from where I grew up in Western Massachusetts around the same time (1936). The Quabbin Reservoir resulted when larger cities like Boston were in need of a larger drinking water supply. The Quabbin is one of the largest suppliers of drinking water in the United States. It's a beautiful place to visit and spend time with nature and family.



18 comments:

  1. This sounds fantastic and I think that cover is great too.

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    1. I tried the audio, but wasn't crazy about the narrator so i was happy I had the eGalley. It is very good!

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    2. I loved the story but wasn't crazy about the narrator either. I didn't switch to print because I had requested it in audio for review.

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  2. This sounds excellent. It's gotta go on my wish list. Great review!

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  3. This is the third review I've read for Cascade. I think this is a book I shouldn't miss reading. The setting and surprise ending sound wonderful to me. Very nice review, Diane.

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  4. I absolutely LOVED this book!! One of my faves for 2012. I think living in MA it spoke to me on that familiar level as well. :) -beth
    www.drbethnolan.wordpress.com

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  5. First off, I'm a little in love with this cover. Second, it sounds like something that I would really love!

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  6. Hi, I saw your review on Amazon and was then curious about your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review! I'm so glad CASCADE connected with you. After the years of work, it's really nice to hear from readers.

    Thanks, too, to all of you (including Beth who came to one of my readings!) for your interest, and kind words.

    Happy holidays to all...

    Maryanne

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  7. I love the cover of this one and I love the time period. I also love anything surrounding live theater so this sounds like a winner.

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  8. Glad to read this good review because I won this book and will receive it soon.

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  9. This sounds fabulous! I think I have it from NetGalley too, as the cover is breathtaking. I'll have to make time for this one soon.

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  10. Always neat to hear about a debut novel that is good!

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  11. I love early 20th century fiction, and I'm hoping to read this one soon! Great review.

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  12. I read another fantastic review of this one,so your awesome review solidified that this will be on my 2013 list!!

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  13. I really like fiction which is based on real incidents. This sounds like an amazinf read and a good story. Adding this to my wishlist.

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  14. Interesting having a pharmacist as a main character - my friend recently asked me to name some in books. Couldn't think of any, will have to let her know about this book!

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    1. Thank you, everyone.

      I appreciate that this blog has introduced my book to interested readers. I hope you all enjoy it.

      Maryanne O'Hara

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