Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review of Deephaven by Sarah Orne Jewett

Name of Book: Deephaven

Author: Sarah Orne Jewett

ISBN: 1-883011-34-5

Publisher: First Library of America

Type of book: 1800s, Deephaven, nature, captains, small town, vacation, Boston, sea, religion

Year it was published: 1877


Two aristocratic young ladies from Boston share their experiences and their delight, as well as the salty yarns of several sea captains, in a small harbor village in Maine.


I didn't see a lot of personality quirks of the two main characters, but instead Helen and Kate have shown the reader of people that live in Deephaven as well as their personalities; the superstitious captains that tell fascinating tales, the women that welcome them warmly, the widows and spinsters that suffered through misfortunes, and the community spirit that the people inhabit in helping one another through tough times.


There is delight in small towns as well


The stories are told in first person narrative from Helen's point of view, and the whole book reads almost like a travel diary. The chapters are sketches of people that Helen and Kate had meet while they stayed in Deephaven, as well as the culture and ideas of that town. There is something beautiful within the story and the activities they had done. There is a reflection of death as well as staying permanently versus just a visit.

Author Information:

in South Berwick, Maine, The United States September 03, 1849

June 24, 1909



Literature & Fiction, Short Stories

Sarah Orne Jewett was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for her local color works set in or near South Berwick, Maine, on the border of New Hampshire, which in her day was a declining New England seaport.


I got introduced to Sarah Orne Jewett few years ago through a story of hers called The White Heron. I remember liking the description and scenery of that particular story, and recently I have acquired an anthology of her novels and her compositions, from which I read Deephaven. The story is similar to Willa Cather's writing, sketches about the fictional community of Deephaven as seen through the eyes of Kate Lancaster and her friend Helen. In these we meet the captains of various ships, the fascinating characters of widows and old women. These are written almost like essays, or if one might compare them to Willa Cather, there is similarity to My Antonia or perhaps The Song of the Lark, except the only plot there is them spending the summer in Deephaven.  A book I might compare the feeling to is The Tale of Genji by Mursaski Shikibu, to an extent.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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