Cascade

HFVBT: Review of Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

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Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

Published by Penguin Books

Published on April 30, 2013

384 pages

Historical Fiction

Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review

CascadeSynopsis:

During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a conflicted new wife seeks to reconcile her artistic ambitions with the binding promises she has made.

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

Cascade is a poignant novel about a woman trying to escape the sphere of domesticity to live her life as she always intended. So many people faced desperate situations during the Great Depression and Maryanne O’Hara captured that desperation with such texture and detail. Desdemona’s own desperation runs throughout the book.

Desdemona, or Dez, is a wonderful character. She sacrificed her life in the art world to save her father’s dreams and marries just for financial security. Her claustrophobia sets in very quickly where she continues to dream and fixate on water and drowning. Her home town of Cascade faces total destruction to make way for a new reservoir and she feels trapped. Her only outlet is her art and Jacob. I can’t image what it would be like to be a woman artist in the 1930s. Your opportunities would be so limited. You are expected to marry and have children. A woman’s place is in the home. Dez’s struggle with domesticity is a continuing theme in the book.

At heart, Dez is an artist. That is the only way she can survive. At times, she is very self-absorbed but I think that is a common characteristic for any artistic person. Her husband could not understand that about her. Her world could not revolve around him. She has to live through her art. She can make some serious bad decisions. But she is very human and trying to find her place in the world.

Bigotry is also a running theme through this book. World War II is about to begin and there is huge back lash against the Jewish community. When Dez falls in love with Jacob she sees firsthand how people are treated even though they’ve done nothing wrong. Her feelings of guilt are strong on how Jacob is treated.

I found Cascade to be very emotional book and I highly recommend it.

KinxsBookNookScore4

About the Author

Maryanne O'Hara

Maryanne O’Hara was the longtime associate fiction editor at the award-winning  literary journal Ploughshares. She received her MFA from Emerson College fifteen years ago, and wrote short fiction that was widely published  before committing to the long form. She lives on a river near Boston.

www.maryanneohara.com
Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 29 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, April 30 Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 1 Review & Giveaway at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, May 2 Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, May 3 Review at Tiny Library

Wednesday, May 8 Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Thursday, May 9 Review at A Bookish Affair Review & Giveaway at The Relentless Reader

Friday, May 10 Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, May 13 Review at Write Meg

Tuesday, May 14 Review at Kinx’s Book Nook Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book

Wednesday, May 15 Review at Raging Bibliomania

Thursday, May 16 Review & Giveaway at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, May 17 Review & Giveaway at The Blue Stocking Society

Monday, May 20 Review at Amused By Books Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 21 Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, May 22 Review & Giveaway at The Worm Hole

Thursday, May 23 Review at A Book Geek

Friday, May 24 Review & Giveaway at The Picky Girl

Monday, May 27 Review & Giveaway at The Novel Life

Tuesday, May 28 Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, May 29 Review at Turning the Pages

Thursday, May 30 Guest Post at The Novel Life

Friday, May 31 Interview & Giveaway at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 3 Review at Words and Peace

Tuesday, June 4 Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader Giveaway at Words and Peace

Wednesday, June 5 Review & Giveaway at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, June 6 Review at The Little Reader Library

Friday, June 7 Review at A Novel Review

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

ItsMonday

Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.

Last week I read The Future Mrs. Darcy by Maria Grace. My review will be posted tomorrow.

Here are my reading plans for this week:

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (For my book club)

I know I had this on last week’s post but I’ve put it off because I’m kind of dreading reading it. Kids and cancer are not my favorite topics for a book. But I have to read at least 100 pages.

For two upcoming blog tours:

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a newly married artist faces an impossible choice between her passion and her promises

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

 

 

 

The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

When mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket, what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. He and Theodosia rely only on each other as they race to uncover the motive behind Becket’s murder—and the truth that could destroy a kingdom.

 

 

What are you reading this week?

Why I Love to Read: Cover Art

Why I love to Read

Cover Art

 
OK, I’ll admit it. I judge a book by its cover. I know I shouldn’t  but I do. If I see a cover that looks absolutely horrible I won’t pick it up; even if it is highly recommended. Book cover art is like window shopping. If something doesn’t catch your eye, you’re not going to give it a second glance. Luckily, for me, there are so many books with amazing cover art right now.  But at the same time, there are some really bad ones as well. 

Lately, I found some amazing book covers. For example, Danielle Trussoni’s Angelopolis is amazing! When I posted it for one of my Waiting on Wednesdays I received so many comments from readers who loved the cover. It really catches your eye. If I saw this book on the shelf, I would pick it up; my curiosity is piqued. Another book cover, I liked is Relish by Lucy Knisley. Lucy is a graphic artist and did the cover herself plus all the illustrations inside. It’s a really fun and clever cover. 

On the flip-side  back covers can be indicative of a bad book. I’ve read several where the cover was just plain silly and the book was too. I should have known better. But I wanted to give it a chance. As I think about it, I’m not sure if I have liked a book where the cover is just plain awful. However, I know I’ve read books that have wonderful covers that I hated. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan comes to mind; beautiful cover but very tedious book. 

Of course, book cover art preference is purely subjective. Someone may love one cover while another person may hate it. I’ve seen that a lot. I know a lot of readers LOVE the smexy covers. I really don’t. I get tired and a little bored of seeing the same ole smexy art on books. I prefer more of a unique art work kind of cover. 

When I’m approached for a blog tour, I read the synopsis and then look at the cover. Truth be told, I really don’t want to promote a book that has an ugly cover. I want something that compliments my blog and that will attract readers. These two covers, Seduction and Cascade, I totally fell in love with when I saw them. The covers were the main reason I chose to participate in the blog tours. 

A book cover is a very important aspect of the packaging of any given book. It is a part of the whole reading experience. I know I have looked at the cover repeatedly while I’m reading. It puts me in the mood for the story and gives me anticipation as well. 

That’s why I love to read this week? How do you view cover art?

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