Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck
Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck kept losing my attention. I have started it several times but keep putting it back down. Constantly switching narrators is annoying and frustrating – just as you get used to it being in one character’s voice it switches to another. The sad part is that the writer has interesting characters and time frame – the follow through… I wasn’t happy with. It is like Ms. Robuck never found her voice in this novel.
As a character I liked Laura, but excluding the beginning of the novel she lacked much life, excepting when she insisted on keeping her daughter she seems awfully wishy-washy. The idea of an unwed mother in the Great Depression era living in a small town dealing with the fall out of choosing to keep her child and the community backlash and pity could be very intriguing – but this wasn’t filled out. Vincent, aka Edna St Vincent Millay, as the second main character is interesting; but their interactions through most of the book make Laura seem wishy-washy and the poet shallow.
It takes until nearly the end of the book before Laura gains courage to not hide from everyone and tell only have truths. Fear of people condemning you is very real – especially in a small town and in a very precarious financial situation when your business is largely being replaced by mail order. I can’t blame her, the character, for fear of repercussions – anyone who has lived in a small town can understand that whether in Vermont or Italy. The end of the book was worth reading. Laura has gained her place in the community and has come to know her own self-worth, no longer a young woman to be pitied.