A Lost Lady, Willa Cather
I love all of Willa Cather's books, but this is my favorite. It is short
enough to read in an hour or two but deep enough to stay with you
forever. Like Wharton's HOUSE OF MIRTH, this is a story of a woman who
is simply unable to survive on her own in the world and makes poor
decisions because of that.
When our protagonist meets Marion Forrester, she is years younger than
her prominent husband. They live in Sweet Water, a town expected to
thrive due to the railway. A young neighbor, Niel Herbert, become
infatuated with her and she allows his infatuation. But before very
long, the fate of Mrs. Forrester turns sour and young Niel is simply too
inexperienced to see her clearly and believes the worst of her. Because
he never understood her situation, he is unsympathetic to her fall from
grace. Years later, he is finally able to understand her.
A beautifully written book and portrait of a complex character.