a novel by Margaret Williams
An historical novel set at the turn of the twentieth century in New York’s
Hudson Valley. When duty to her father reduces Anne Beauvois, a
sophisticated young Canadian woman, to farm drudgery, she escapes into a
loveless marriage to an illiterate Irish brick-worker, Liam O’Connor. In
Haverstraw, a town on the brink of disaster, she finds friends and
discovers her inner strength.
This quietly beautiful novel tracks the fortunes and misfortunes of a
young woman in search of selfhood. After her mother unexpectedly dies,
Anne Beauvois must leave her aunt's elegant home in Quebec City to keep
house for her brutish, illiterate father on his hardscrabble farm in New
York State. Severely limited by early-twentieth-century gender
constraints, she realizes her only escape is marriage. Hastily accepting a
proposal from a callow young Irish bricklayer, she moves to the bustling
river port city of Haverstraw, determined to forge a new life for herself.
Having made a bad bargain in the marriage department, she pursues her own
dreams and desires despite her husband's provincial ideas. When tragedy
strikes the town, Anne's options are extended far beyond her initial
expectations. Williams manages to effortlessly conjure up the tenor and
the timbre of another time and place in the powerfully evocative debut
How vividly Margaret Williams re-creates the world
of shops and boarding houses, clay pits and brick ovens that was
Haverstraw, NY in the early 1900's! And she has a wonderfully compelling
story to tell -- of deception and loss, self-discovery and love. You
won't want to put it down.
An impressive debut for first novelist Margaret Williams. Haverstraw braids an achingly truthful tale from the strands of time, place, and the constants of human nature. Both lyric, accurate, and finely tuned, the story of Haverstraw is a vital one, one we all know and must be reminded of the verities of history and love, those rivers that run through us all.
THE VARIOUS REASONS OF LIGHT
and THE REVISIONISTS DREAM
HAVERSTRAW BRICKMAKING HISTORY
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