I picked up Beth Gutcheon’s lastest while browsing the new bookshelf at my neighborhood library. I really didn’t need to add to the pile of books at my bedside but I was drawn in by the cover – high heels and pretty dresses do me in every time!
The narration centers around Lovie French who enters a world of privilege by way of a scholarship to boarding school. The story followers her life over the next 50 years as she wades through New York society and the gossip that fuels the existence of the ladies she encounters in her high end clothing shop.
I simply loved the characters. Their complex relationships felt real and genuine. Lovie is epicenter for gossip. Everyone seems to just tell her things and in so many cases it is up to her to decide what to do with said information. Most of the book read like the retelling of any life well lived but I just kept waiting for the big bombshell, for the gossip told by many of the characters to have repercussions.
Finally at the end of the novel the blowback happened but to little result. This awful, horrible, unexpected event takes place and Gutcheon simply ends the story. I was left feeling incomplete. Decades of build up and then nothing. Motivation for the actions of the characters were glossed over. The event felt as if it was simply reported rather than recounted by these complicated and emotional characters. Those who had a slight hand in creating the atmosphere for such awfulness did not get the confrontation I desired or they deserved. They were left stunned without consequence.
I want an ending do over! I want what seemed promised me. I want 50 more pages to actually END the book.
But then I feel this way about so many novels.