The Brimming Cup is a heady treat

In 1909, a couple on the Rocca di Papa pledged their love. Eleven years later, as the woman sends her youngest child off to school, Marise Crittenden thinks, “This is the beginning of the end.”

Marise is a talented pianist living in a tiny New England town. When  Mr. Wells, a retired office manager moves in next door, accompanied by the son of his late employer, Marise is drawn to both men for different reasons. Neale Crittenden is away on business when the newcomers arrive, so it falls to Marise to introduce them to the Ashley community.

With this honest, self-effacing ways, Mr. Wells becomes Marise’s  friend and her preteen son’s confidant. With his charm and sophistication, handsome young Vincent Marsh becomes her tempter.

Vincent says children are better raised by strangers, that Marise has a duty to cultivate her musical talent, that her marriage is valueless because its passion has worn off.

A chance comment leads Marise to fear Neale might be underhanded. If that is true, she might as well leave with Vincent.

The Brimming Cup is a novel to savor. Dorothy Canfield’s characters are distinctive individuals portrayed with watercolor subtlety. She makes her intricate plot look straightforward.

The Brimming Cup
By Dorothy Canfield [Fisher]
Harcourt, Brace, 1921
409 pages
1921 bestseller # 2
Project Gutenberg Ebook-No: 14957
My Grade: A-
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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