Work’s done. Rereading is beginning

After posting my final review of the 940 bestselling novels of the twentieth century before Christmas, I collapsed in front of the TV to binge-watch the Masterpiece “Inspector Morse” videos.

A lady dressed for 1868 club meeting on cover of “...And Ladies of the Club”
Type and image recall the 1860s.

That done, I pulled out my 1,176-page paperback edition of Helen Hooven Santmyer’s  “…And Ladies of the Club” and began rereading it. It was even better the second time around.

This time, in addition to getting the story line, I was able to appreciate the historical context. Watching the Trump presidency encouraged people to think nothing like it had ever happened before. Santmyer’s novel made me realize how much present day history echoes 19th century history.

People don’t change much, and it’s people that are the elements of history.

Here are a few quotes that seemed particularly timely.

Defeat never converts. It is to the defeated what persecution is to the persecuted. The cause becomes daily more precious, and devotion to it a more sacred duty.

Here’s another:

We acted for the best. People almost always do, and so often it turns out wrong.

And this:

People always have to face up to what they’re by nature least well equipped to face.

If you’ve not read Helen Hooven Santmyer’s novel, I can’t recommend it too highly. It’s a whopping big book—perhaps enough to get you through the pandemic—and you have to pay close attention , but the novel is worth the effort.

©2021 Linda Gorton Aragoni