(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Crippling headaches, brought on by her painting, keep Sophia Peabody out of society. Although she remains isolated because of her health, her artwork and lively journals attract attention from the outside world. Most especially from a shy, reclusive writer named Nathaniel Hawthorne. The couple fall quickly in love. Although Sophia pines for marriage, Nathaniel hesitates because of financial concerns. Finally, the two wed, joining their lives and artistic temperaments. It's a coupling beset by the usual challenges, not the least of which is trying to balance their creative lives with the requirements of home and family. Through the trials, their love endures, sustaining them both ...
It's difficult to describe The House of Hawthorne, a fictional imagining of a real-life marriage . Indeed, the story, written by Erika Robuck, runs very thin on plot, even thinner on action. While the book's quiet prose is quite lovely, poetic in many places, the narrative drags, making for a long, often dull read. The fact that I found Sophia whiny and annoying didn't help matters. The House of Hawthorne has many beautiful passages, as well as some intriguing thoughts on how art and love mingle—or don't—but, overall, the book put me to sleep. I finished it, but it felt more like a feat of endurance than enjoyment.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. You?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for sexual innuendo and content
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of The House of Hawthorne from the generous folks at Penguin. Thank you!