24 December 2010

A Severed Wasp; Madeleine L'Engle

A Severed Wasp (Vigneras, #2) A Severed Wasp (Vigneras, #2) by Madeleine L'Engle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Knowing next to nothing about classical piano, I spent time while reading resolving to correct this and to find copies of some of the pieces mentioned. (Obviously, the compositions by Tom and Justin won't be found, but Bach and Scarlatti will be.)

Katherine is still the relatively contained, reactive person we met in A Small Rain, 50 years older and presumably wiser. She's retired to New York, widowed, and looking forward to a peaceful life. Of course you know that that's simply not going to happen, but her reserve does prevent her from doing more than getting snitty with others when she wants them to go away (although she does come to love Emily, and tolerate Dorcas, among others). The "mystery" of who (or what) is causing the panic and fear in Cathedral Close is less of an ecclesiastic mystery than it is a way to move the plot forward and keep Katherine interacting with the residents.

Moving between her current life and her memories of her former life in Europe, as a Nazi prisoner, as a wife and mother and international pianist, and of the choices she's made, Katherine's story made me envy the peace of mind she's found. As I suspected, the dialog here is far better than the dialog in the first book, although at times it still sounds a little stilted (as does Katherine's inner monologue). I also don't remember NYC being as scary a place in the early mid-80s as this book would have it.

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