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A Woman of Means: A Novel by Peter Taylor

A Woman of Means: A Novel (1950)

by Peter Taylor

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Quint Dudley's mother died in childbirth. His father, Gerald, an ambitious hardware salesman, has dragged Quint from one place to another in search of better jobs and upward mobility. After having some success, Gerald marries a rich divorcee and they move into her house. Quint, now in middle school, experiences motherly affection for the first time and finds his place in a new school.

The good times cannot last, however, as Quint's father and stepmother both seem proud and stiff-necked about money, class, and other matters that Quint does not understand. Events proceed to a troubling finish.

I thought Quint was very well drawn, with his insecurities and dawning insights. Taylor makes excellent use of details to give us a vivid picture of Quint's experiences. His parents seem less well drawn, perhaps because we see the story through Quint's young eyes and he doesn't really see the adult world clearly. I didn't think we were well enough prepared for the story's finish; there had not been enough clues or indications that it was coming.

The novel is quite brief, perhaps another factor in the lack of foreshadowing. For the most part it is an enjoyable read, particularly Quint and his stepsisters. Taylor would go on to write finer novels, but this is an excellent first one. ( )
  Jim53 | Oct 4, 2008 |
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For Katherine Baird Taylor
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The girls kept diaries, but you never had a chance to read them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312144482, Paperback)

Gerald Dudley is an executive at a hardware company in St. Louis, living the quintessential bachelor life with his young son, Quint. He is also a man who aspires beyond his means and class. When Gerald meets the wealthy divorcée Ann Lauterbach and the two marry, life changes irrevocably for Quint. He enters a social world of private schools and debutante balls known to him only through his father's longings. As Quint's attachment to his stepmother and her "means" grows, her marriage to his father begins to crumble in small, subtle ways, which ultimately leads to larger, more devastating consequences.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

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