Publishing year: 2012
The novel starts in April 1916. Melanie Daniels is twenty-three and disappointed with life. In her little village she is treated like a pariah. People despise her, and she has few friends. Her father, Dr Horace Daniels, was in jail for two years after a woman died when he was aborting her fourteenth baby. Now Dr Daniels has lost his licence to practise medicine, so the only money that comes into the house is for treating immigrants who don’t care that he doesn’t have a licence. He is a broken man, who spends most of the day drunk. Melanie’s life has changed radically as her family used to be well-off, and since she is a pretty girl, she was popular. Now her peers don’t bother to hide their scorn for her and her family. The only friend she has is Paul Clyde, who is in love with her, but she doesn’t love him as she feels he is too young for her.
Then one day when she is in the ice-cream parlour with Paul, she notices a stranger in town, who she finds very attractive. Then a few days later when she is on her way back from visiting her sister Olive, she runs into the stranger while she is walking. They start talking. The man’s name is James Louis Throckmorton, and when they reach town, he tells her that he wants to see her again.
When Melanie tells her mother about the man, the woman is scandalised because it is indecent to talk to a man who you haven’t been properly introduced to, and she forbids Melanie to see him again. Yet, Melanie has no intention to mind her mother, so she meets James the following day. They go for a walk, and they end up kissing, something that Melanie has barely done before. As they meet secretly the following days, James becomes bolder and bolder, and even though Melanie reacts prudishly, she lets him do anything. Then one day it is clear what he wants, and for some reason she doesn’t want to stop him. So they sneak into some summer properties and they make love. Then James tells her that they should go to New York together. He tells her that she shouldn’t tell her parents, and what he wants is some money for the fares and other expenses. So they arrange to meet the following night.
Oh Melanie! I think that this man, who is almost twenty years older than her, is going to hurt and deceive her. What I suspect he wants is the money, and after he has got his pleasure from Melanie, he might not want anything from Melanie again. I am afraid Melanie is going to be bitterly disappointed. I think she has trusted this stranger too much, and she doesn’t know much about him. He might be married for all she knows!!!