The relentless working out of a curse on the Pyncheon family of Salem. who have inhabited the House of Seven Gables for generations, is reviewed two centuries later by their descendants, with surprising results.
This is the story of the Pyncheon family that is slowly becoming extinct. We meet Hepzibah Pyncheon, poor and old, who lives alone in the family mansion, a house build with seven gables. Without resources, she opens a penny shop to earn money to live. Other notable characters include her brother Clifford imprisoned because of the acts of Jaffrey Pyncheon, a wealthy judge who lives in his own country manor and is determined to find an ancient deed to other Pyncheon property.
When the penny shop seems to be failing young Phoebe Pyncheon appears. She is a lovely, vivacious, and enthusiastic young woman who lives in the country who has come to visit her cousins. She enjoys running the penny store, brightens the gloomy atmosphere in the house, and when Clifford returns from his prison, entertains him with all her charms. In addition, she meets Holgrave, a young boarder in the house, and romance blooms.
The tale is often referred to as a romance but I felt that it was more a story about the Pyncheon family. Hawthorne sets the stage by giving us an overview of how the original Pyncheon obtained the property and built the house. His actions provoked a curse from the original land owner that is endure throughout the family's existence.
Yes, there are ghosts and strange happenings in the house. And, we are exposed to the lives of former residents of the house. However, life improves for the current residents when another tragedy strikes the Pyncheon family, particularly the judge. Hepsibah and Clifford temporarily evacuate their ancestral home. All comes to a climax as the author weaves the tale into an ending that is unexpected but makes the reader smile. I liked this read even though I found Hawthorne's writing sometimes difficult to endure. Good one.
"The House of the Seven Gables" is a novel by the late American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hawthorne is one of two authors to comprise America's Anti-Transcendentalist movement. Along with Herman Melville, Hawthorne explored the limits of human nature. He was particularly fascinated by our inability to learn from our mistakes, and by the secret sins that outwardly righteous people carry within them. He also was burdened by a sense of ancestral guilt, as one of his Puritan forebears had been a judge in the Salem witch trials.
"The House of the Seven Gables" focuses especially on that last theme. The house in question was built on land claimed during the witch hysteria; unable to buy the land outright, Colonel Pyncheon accused the owner of witchcraft, and then acquired the land after the owner was sentenced to be hanged. Before he died, the accused man cursed Pyncheon and his entire line.
The book takes place some 200 years later, bringing together the last surviving descendants of Colonel Pyncheon and his victim, to conclude that ancient feud.
This was a very interesting book, the only problem is not with the reading itself, but with the ISBN. It says 1-55902-983-8, but when you type that in it says that this book is Gone With the Wild, I believe. The librarian told me to use the ISBN 0812504593, but other than that good book
An classic tale of wizardry and the supernatural.
The Pyncheon mansion is a sullen, moldy hulk, fouled by centuries of corruption, rot, and decay. Within, old hermit Hepzibah, whose grim faces scares neigbors away, and half-mad brother Clifford, driven mindless from ancient fear and shame, fall into their own decay... enter young cousin Phoebe....
I have had these books for my neice who has read this book as a young adult and no longer needs it. So with her permission I am willing to swap them for other young adults with a love of reading or for book report ....