Cascade: A Novel

By Maryanne O'Hara
Publisher:Viking Adult, (8/16/2012)

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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During the 1930s, in a town fighting for its survival, a conflicted new wife with artistic promise must choose between duty and desire
Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set within the context of the Depression, NYC during Roosevelt's New Deal era, and the approaching World War.

1935:  Desdemona Hart Spaulding was an up-and-coming Boston artist when she married in haste and settled in the small, once-fashionable theater town of Cascade to provide a home for her dying father. Now Cascade is on the short list to be flooded to provide water for Boston, and Dez's discontent is complicated by her growing attraction to a fellow artist. When tragic events unfold, Dez is forced to make difficult choices. Must she keep her promises? Is it morally possible to set herself free?

"What do we have to give up to be whom we yearn to be?  CASCADE unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, with an ending you won't see coming. Much like a drowned town, the novel becomes something that you can't take your eyes from or stop thinking about in wonder.The Boston Globe
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Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "Cascade: A Novel"
updated on:2/2/2013

Cascade....a depression town that lost its playhouse.  A playhouse that was a wedding gift to Asa by his father-in-law, William Hart, when he married his daughter Dez.   Dez, who married not for love, but because she had no place to live and no money so she settled for Asa.  

Dez didn't realize that marrying Asa was a mistake until she wanted to be with another man and wanted to pursue her art career.  Dez and Jacob had more in common than she and her husband did...Jacob was an artist and Asa was a pharmacist who didn't have the same passions or want the same things out of life that Dez did.

Asa and Dez were the main characters and had the main role in what was hanging over the heads of every citizen of Cascade.  The citizens didn't know whether their town was going to be turned into a reservoir for Boston or if the town would be brought back to life by the re-opening of the playhouse that would bring people back to the town and that would fulfill William Hart's dreams.  The playhouse was what held the town together and was one of the major themes in CASCADE.
The book was a perfectly modeled description of  this era, and the characters were authentic for the time period. The depression-era wives were portrayed as wives that cooked, ironed, and were there when their husbands arrived home at night after work.  The town with its pharmacy and snack bar was perfectly represented as you picture the counter, the food, and the customers as you know they were at that time....very enjoyable.

Each character had special qualities that kept your interest.  Dez was a very likable character, but one that needed to be more realistic and to realize she was in the best place she could be socially and marriage wise, but she thankfully didn't see that and had other dreams. Asa was a bit unlikeable because of his aloofness to his wife and other characters.  Jacob was representated as loveable, but one that caused heartache to Dez her entire life.

Ms.O'Hara's descriptions of the simplest things such as window blinds, building facades, landscapes, and even wooden floors were skillfully carried out.  Her descriptions of facial features and feelings were vividly pictured. The reader definitely will become a part of each character, the town's problem, and specifically the fragility of Asa and Dez's seemed as though the story was purposely "painted" dramatically and theatrically for the reader along with a well-thought out, "flowing "plot.

You as a reader also undeniably cannot ignore the gorgeous cover that brings together the two most poignant features of the book....the river and Dez who mesmerize and represent the basis of the book.  The author explained the cover's meaning to me as this:  "The Penguin Art Department created the cover... the idea being that the cascading waterfall is a metaphor for all the turmoil going on in her head, as well as being a beautiful
'piece of art.' "

CASCADE is a beautiful book that will definitely make you think and will remain with you long after you turn the last page.  It is a book about life's choices and decisions.  Don't let the slow start keep you from continuing. The entire book is as spectacular as its cover.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author without compensation in return for an honest review.  


"Cascade: A Novel"
By Maryanne O'Hara

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)

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