Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Book Review: "Gracie Lindsay" - A J Cronin

Gracie is Levenford’s prettiest, most charming girl, with most men at her feet. Her uncle, Daniel Nimmo, is no exception--he dotes on Gracie, even when she makes mistakes. Nimmo is a failed priest-turned-photographer, a quiet man who is always aware of his failure, but tries to live a dignified life as best he can.

When Gracie comes back to Levenford after seven years--after having disappeared after a hush-hush affair, and later being married and in India, Nimmo is nervously excited, but the town is whispering again. We're curious to meet this Gracie Lindsay and to see for ourselves the kind of woman she is.

In the initial chapters I thought the writing was amateurish, the language not as polished or powerful as the Cronin I've read. But when Daniel Nimmo goes into the dreary Clyde Place to look for Gracie's abandoned child, the story becomes more interesting, and then hard to put down.

The second half of the book is engrossing, the characters more fully fleshed out and tension in the tale. The end is touching and poignant, and made the book a satisfying read for me. I enjoyed getting to know the grouchy Apothecary Hay, the rickety, wise child Robert, and Daniel Nimmo.

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