Spring and Fall
by: Nicholas Delbanco
Published by: Warner Books (October 19, 2006 Release)
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Reviewed by Shaley Melchior
This, Delbanco's 24th book, is touching without being overly sentimental, romantic without being sappy. It's a finely tuned love story that produces hope in the heart of every reader who may despair of finding true love again, or for the first time.
We first meet college sweethearts Lawrence and Hermia at Harvard in the early 1960s. They share the sort of passionate love that, for most, only occurs once in a lifetime. Soon Lawrence graduates and departs to pursue a career in architecture--and they grow apart.
Fast forward 40 years. Lawrence and Hermia meet by chance on a cruise to the Mediterranean. Much has shaped their lives--Hermia, who is a political activist, has a daughter from the short-lived marriage. She has endured heartache because daughter, Patricia, ran away from home at age 17. Patricia only occasionally sends postcards with no return address, just to show her mother she is still alive, and in the hands of her ex-husband, who was mentally unstable and abusive.
Lawrence has traveled all over the world to see foreign cultures and architecture, hoping it will help him reach his own career goals. He has also married and divorced twice, fathering three children. Now a professor of architecture, he's recently undergone an angioplasty.
Hermia has kept up with Lawrence's career, but before associating much with him, she is very careful to confirm that he is, in fact, a Democrat. Nothing else really matters, as long as he is a Democrat. Once confirmed, they slowly slide back into a relationship, perhaps not as passionate, but a deeper, more affectionate relationship than the one they shared as college students.
Their fairy-tale romance, however, is not without its bumps, as Lawrence undergoes further heart troubles and Hermia's daughter Patricia shows up out of the blue.
Armchair Interviews says: Delbanco has woven an enchanting story of love lost, then found, and a second chance at romance. Readers who enjoy a romance that satisfies without being sappy or overdone will surely rejoice at Spring and Fall.
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