Hudson River Bracketed by Edith Wharton
I’ve read many of Wharton’s books and this is perhaps my favorite. While vastly different from her novels of New York, I found it most similar in style to Summer.
This saga follows the life of burgeoning writer Vance Weston. Over the course of many years (five or six maybe) we see him develop in mind, passion, and character. Though at times the choices he makes are frustrating, overall he makes a sympathetic protagonist; I found myself ever rooting for his successes, both in his professional and personal life. Because we see so much of his life, I’m not bothered by his downfalls – to me they make him more realistic and rounded.
I found the love story between Vance and the other protagonist, Halo Spear, to be perfectly written. Both devoted to their chosen mates, they are absolutely tormented by their love for each other. Nevertheless, in the end we get hope – which is rare in Wharton novels.
Though this is one of Wharton’s least praised works, I found it to be incredibly compelling and perfectly executed. I was engrossed all 500+ pages without slowing pace even once.