A young man becomes transfixed by a beautiful widow with a shadowy past
In Pequot Landing, there are two sights to see: the largest elm in America, which dominates the stately old village green, and the house of Lady Harleigh. When the Great War ended, she was the most beautiful bride in the village, and though she was widowed soon after, mourning dampened neither her beauty nor her spirits. By the time the Great Depression rolls around, she is the unchallenged center of Pequot society—lovely and energetic, but subject to bouts of grim melancholy that hint at something dark beneath her surface.
Woody is eight years old when he first notices the Lady, and her glittering elegance captures his heart. He spends his boyhood deeply in love with the mysterious widow, obsessed with the sadness that lies at her core. As he gets closer to her, he finds that Lady Harleigh is haunted—not just by grief, but by a scandalous secret that, if revealed, could change Pequot Landing forever.
Honestly, I struggled with this book a bit and sat pondering how to rate it for a while before deciding on four stars. The story itself is impressive and the writing is good, but it also had a rather slow beginning.
When I saw this title and read the book blurb, my immediate thought was that it was more of a horror story or creepy mystery. It is instead, a coming of age story tinged with important events that could have really happened in a small town setting. The racial tension and unfair judgment by the other people in the town were very well described.
There were times when I found myself involved in this story to the point it was hard for anything else to distract me and yet other times when I was wishing that I could get through it. There is definitely a lot of build up before the important events really start happening.
I was mostly interested in the relationship between the young boy and Lady. As he grew older, I almost lost my ability to feel for him as he sort of felt more like he was obsessed and stalking Lady than in love with her.
This story had some hard hitting points in it that made me stop and think. I had read other Tryon Novels previous to this and I have to say, this one reminded me why he was such a prolific author. He had a way of making his reader feel like they were directly involved in the story. “Lady” is no different. This novel is not one to make you burst out laughing at random intervals or that you may want to read when you don’t have time to sit and appreciate it, but rather a book that you should take time to really get to know when it is quiet and you can fully enjoy it.
Would I recommend this book? If you appreciate a story with a more complex plot and really good character development, you will likely enjoy this. If you are looking for mile-a-minute action, probably not. I think it depends on what you like in a story.
This review is based on a digital ARC from Netgalley and the Publisher, Open Road Media.