This book fills 1926 for my Century of Women project, and also qualifies for my Classics Club, Round 2. It’s one of my very last remaining books by Willa Cather – the only novel I have remaining to read is Shadows on the Rock and I also have her Collected Short Stories on my bookshelf. I may try to finish Cather this year, but the idea of a future with no new Cathers to read is bleak, indeed.
This book is very short – really a novella, at about 112 pages. It is not Cather’s best, but it’s still something to admire, nonetheless. It’s the story of Myra Henshawe, who famously thumbed her nose at her wealthy guardian and married for love against his wishes. She was a wild creature in her youth.
The book is told from the perspective of a young niece who visits Myra in New York City, where she lives in a rather bohemian life, when Myra and Oswald are in their thirties. She reconnects with them in San Francisco, where they have descended into genteel poverty. All long marriages are complicated, and the marriage between Myra and Oswald is no different.
It’s not a particularly likeable book because Myra is a difficult woman. It’s a lesser Cather, and recommended for completists, but would definitely not be a good entry point into her work.