October 30, 2008

The Turquoise by Anya Seton

Awhile back Jacki asked about this writer, so I grabbed a couple of her books.

This book was written in the early 40's, and it shows. As I read it I couldn't help but imagine it as a flamboyant Hollywood glamor film starring Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth.

This is the story of a young woman of lordly Scotch and Spanish blood, orphaned young and left to be raised by a family of Mexican peasants in Santa Fe. At 17 she is seduced by a traveling quack doctor who is impressed by her psychic abilities and wants to use her in his show. They're married by a dubious judicial authority and then travel to New York, where he deserts her and leaves her pregnant and entirely alone. She has to pull herself up by the bootstraps and rises to fortune.

The moral of the story, if you will, has to do with making choices. We all wonder about decisions we make and the rightness thereof. Fey's psychic abilities give her special insight, and therefore special accountability. It's interesting to see how this plays out.

It was also very interesting for me to see Santa Fe depicted in this way. It's clear that Seton actually visited and researched the place, she accurately places the reader right in the middle of the city's historic center. It's exactly the same now, minus the sombreros and gambling.

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