Joy Street Lives Up to Its Name

When Emily Thayer tells her family that she is going to marry Roger Field, they tell her he will never set the world on fire. That’s just  fine with Emily. She wants the world “peaceful and pleasant and safe.”

Emily gets her wish.

Roger is predictable and their marriage happy. In the years before and during World War II, Roger rises in his law firm by dint of hard work rather than brilliance. Together Roger and Emily expand their acquaintance beyond Beacon Hill society to Boston’s immigrant community, represented in Roger’s firm by a token Jew, a token Irishman and a token Italian.

David, Brian, and Pell, the “new Boston” lawyers, are vivid and vigorous characters who introduce Roger and Emily to facets of life they hadn’t known existed.

And  Roger and Emily surprise themselves by discovering new facets of their own personalities.  The plot grows organically out of those  personalities.

Even though Emily thinks herself capable of an affair, in imitation of her impressive grandmother,  readers realize a grand passion is not Emily’s style. Emily is believable in part because she remains true to her essential personality.

In Joy Street, Frances Parkinson Keyes gives readers a story that, like Emily’s world, is peaceful and pleasant and safe.

Joy Street
By Frances Parkinson Keyes
Jullian Messner, 1950
490 pages
1950 bestseller #2
My Grade B+
© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni