Kings Row is the county seat of a mid-west town. At the turn of the 20th century, it was the sort of place that people found a good to raise their children. Author Henry Bellamann takes us behind the lace curtains for a different view.
Parris Mitchell’s parents are dead. His twice-widowed grandmother brings him up with old-world values. Older people dote on Parris. His peers respect Parris but find him odd.
The boy’s only real friends are Renee, a dull-witted girl whose father works for his grandmother, and Drake McHugh, whose deceased parents were among the town’s elite.
Parris is so innocent, it seems inevitable that he will be victimized.
Before her death, his grandmother pulls Parris out of public school and has him tutored privately to get him ready for medical school in Vienna. Before Parris sails for Vienna, his tutor kills his daughter and himself.
When he returns five years later, Parris has learned names for the Kings Row behaviors he only intuited before: homosexuality, incest, sadism.
Bellamann, a musician by training, orchestrates his novel. The story flows with the inevitability of a great symphony, enveloping readers into the story.
When you read Kings Row, you don’t just imagine it happening: You stand beside Parris and experience it.Kings Row Henry Bellamann Simon and Schuster, 1940 674 pages 1942 Bestseller #9 My grade: A+
Photo credit: “Victorian home” by andrewatla http://www.sxc.hu/photo/822439