Half way thru this book I wondered what it had to do with Pasadena. It seemed stuck out in Baden=Baden-by-the-Sea. Once inside Pasadena it was interesting to imagine how it looked back in that time. The story was interesting but two people who never spoke of their hearts desires and therefore never lived them seemed hard to imagine.
David Ebershoff's second novel, Pasadena, is rich with exuberant details. But instead of overwhelming readers, Ebershoff (The Danish Girl) manages to deftly conduct the symphony found in everyday life. The historical novel opens with Andrew Jackson Blackwood, who has come from the east "with a small wad of money of questionable origin and a full, boyish smile." Blackwood's intent is to buy and develop Rancho Pasaden, and as he passes through the dying orange groves and elaborate halls of the mansion, the realtor tells him the entangled stories of its previous inhabitants. But if Blackwood's character is stretched thin by Ebershoff's drive to reveal the Pasadena that once was, the stories of other characters, such as Linda Stamp, Bruder, and Captain Willis Poore, prove difficult to put down.
As driven as the plot may be, the writing does not suffer. Ebershoff has a luxuriant way with words, and through his beautiful prose he includes readers in the intrigue of a swiftly passing shop window, the refinement of a well-made lobster trap, and the coarseness of a saloon filled with whores and their clients. The many details bring us closer to each character's motives, and when the last page is read we may even realize that the book moved us to a different time and place--just like a good book should. --Karin Rosman
Also wrote "The Danish Girl" and "The Rose City". Intense characters in the historical setting of 1925 California.