I've enjoyed some Anita Shreve novels in the past but this one was a huge disappointment. Too "romancey" and gratuitous sexual situations, along with an unbelievable story, made it a waste of valuable reading time for me.
A story of two people who fell in love as kids and find each other again through letters.
Anita Shreve writes excellent character who are human, with all their mistakes and hurts and loves. In this case, a boy and girl meet at camp and fall in love. Thirty years later, the boy (now a middle-aged man) sees a photo and article of the girl from camp and dares to write to her. At the expense of both of their families, what follows is a passionate love, but ultimately, they pay the price.
This is an early work of Anita Shreve. It kept my interest and surprised me by the outcome.
When 44-year-old real estate insurance salesman Charles Callahan sees a photograph of poet Sian Richards, he recognizes her as the young woman he met three decades earlier at a Catholic camp for teenagers. Impulsively, he writes Sian, and sets in motion the love affair they were destined to have. Though both are married and have children, each is unfulfilled, craving true partnership. Parallels between their lives are evident but not forced: Charles's Rhode Island fishing community is suffering badly from the recession, and he is about to lose his office building and his home; Sian's husband cannot scratch a living from their Pennsylvania onion farm. Charles attended a seminary for two years; Sian considered taking orders. Significantly, though each has fallen away from the Church, they still think and speak in religious imagery: Charles calls himself "an insurer of life, a kind of secular priest," and such terms as venial sins, sacrilege, epiphany, state of grace, guilt and absolution come naturally to both of them. Shreve makes the vortex of their obsession entirely believable, controlling the narrative with authority and restraint. The haunting song of the title provides a leitmotif for a lyrical and increasingly suspenseful narrative told in clear and evocative prose.
When Sian receives a love letter from an old flame, she is extremely flattered. However, what starts out as a friendly meeting to reacquaint themselves with each other soon descends into a fiery, volatile affair that rockets into a dark and dangerous obsession. I loved this book and give it an A+!