Windswept is Barren and Boring

In September of 1938, two American tourists can watch a convoy of German military trucks carrying unsmiling young soldiers headed for maneuvers on the Rhine. Watching, each woman thinks of home.

On that ominous note, Mary Ellen Chase sets readers up to expect Windswept to be a passionate war story. Instead, Chase gives us a nice, dull book about nice, dull people.

The story begins when a man named Phillip Marston buys a chunk of Maine seacoast on which to build a home for himself and his son, John. He gets it cheap because nobody wants it.

When Phillip is killed in a hunting accident, John, aided by a Bohemian immigrant whom his father befriended, sees that the home is built. Jan Pisek is a second father to John and later to John’s children.

Three generations of Marstons call Windswept home. They revere Windswept the way Scarlett O’Hara reveres Tara. Whenever anything bad happens, they head for Windswept.

But Windswept is no Tara.

Among the entire Marston clan there’s not one memorable personality. Chase’s sea-gray characters meet every crisis with New England stoicism. These are practical people, with no passion for anything except Windswept itself.

If gray is your favorite color, you’ll love this novel.

Windswept
Mary Ellen Chase
MacMillan 1941
440 pages
1941 # 10
My grade: C-
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni