Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this book is constructed entirely of letters. However, in this case all the letters are written by the same person—Ivy Rowe. Many of the letters are addressed to Ivy's sister Silvaney and never mailed, and these are the most reflective and informative. I almost stopped reading after the first 10 pages, in which Ivy is an uneducated teenager in the early 1900s, and her spelling is atrocious. However, her grammar and spelling do improve as the book progresses. The title implies to me that the women in the novel are pampered and vacuous, but that is certainly not the case. Ivy is spunky and passionate, and eventually "ruint." She finally settles down with a good man after almost losing him in a mining accident but then strays during a midlife crisis that has tragic consequences. The book spans Ivy's entire life, and there are so many characters that I occasionally got mixed up. Some of them disappear for a while and then crop up again. No one is forgotten, so that closure is complete on all fronts. The characters also raise one another's children, as circumstances require, and I wondered if that was a common practice during the time period.

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