Margaret Mayfield is nearly an old maid at twenty-seven when she marries Captain Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early. He's the most famous man their Missouri town has ever produced: a naval officer and an astronomer - a genius who, according to the local paper, has changed the universe. Margaret's mother calls the match "a piece of luck". Yet Andrew ...
Margaret Mayfield is nearly an old maid at twenty-seven when she marries Captain Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early. He's the most famous man their Missouri town has ever produced: a naval officer and an astronomer - a genius who, according to the local paper, has changed the universe. Margaret's mother calls the match "a piece of luck". Yet Andrew confounds Margaret's expectations from the moment their train leaves for his naval base in San Francisco, and soon she realizes that his devotion to science leaves little room for anything, or anyone, else. She stands by him through tragedies both personal and those they share with the nation. But as World War II approaches, Andrew's obsessions take a darker turn, forcing Margaret to reconsider the life she'd so carefully constructed.
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-06-28 Raised in post-Civil War Missouri, Margaret Mayfield Early has witnessed vast changes in the U.S. and around the world in her 60 years, and her observations and recollections make for a captivating listen. Kate Reading is well cast; her rich voice and difficult to place accents are perfect for characters that grew up in the Midwest but have lived all over the country. The audio production is flawless, and the narration is suffused with mood, heavy introspection, and wistfulness. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 25). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2010-01-25 The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres delivers a slow-moving historical antiromance in her bleak 13th novel. In the early 1880s, Margaret Mayfield is rescued from old maid status by Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early, an astronomer whose questionable discoveries have taken him from the scientific elite to a position as a glorified timekeeper at a remote California naval base. Margaret's world is made ever smaller as the novel progresses, with no children to distract her and Andrew more excited by his telescope than his wife. Isolation and boredom being two dominant themes, the book is a slow burn, punctuated by detours into the larger world: the Wobblies, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and both world wars. The old-fashioned language can be off-putting, though it does make the reader feel like a reluctant second wife to Andrew as his failed scientific theories are revealed in tedious detail and the gruesome monotony of marriage is portrayed in a repellant but fascinating fashion. Thus, when Margaret finally realizes her marriage is "relentless, and terrifying," it feels wonderfully satisfying, but the proceeding 100 pages offer a trickle of disappointment and a slackening of suspense that saps hard-earned goodwill. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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