HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Mason's Retreat by Christopher Tilghman
Loading...

Mason's Retreat (edition 1997)

by Christopher Tilghman (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
199399,126 (3.58)4
It is 1936, and the world is on the brink of war. American expatriot Edward Mason, owner of a failing machine factory, is fighting more private battles. In the face of defeat, he abandons his adopted home in England in order to reclaim his inheritance on Maryland's Eastern Shore---a ruinous, thousand-acre estate known ominously as Mason's Retreat. Edward, his wife, Edith, and their two young sons struggle to adjust to life in this strange and storied place. But with war drawing closer, England's hasty rearmament offers Edward a chance to revive the factory, and he returns alone to lead his company. Meanwhile, his wife and sons are left to make their own fortunes. When an unsigned letter informs Edward of where those fortunes have led, he hastens back, an ill-fated move that will have devastating consequences for everyone involved.… (more)
Member:Melwilk
Title:Mason's Retreat
Authors:Christopher Tilghman (Author)
Info:Vhps Hardcover (1997), 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read, owned-to-be-read

Work details

Mason's Retreat by Christopher Tilghman

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
It took me a while to get into this but once I hit page 50 (which is usually my make it or break it point), I was very intrigued by the story of an American family returning from England in the 1930s to take over a family farm on the eastern shores of Maryland. I had no idea where the novel was going to go - and though I found some parts under-developed, I enjoyed it enough follow avidly and want to read the prequel.

I wish I could give it another half star. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Very much enjoyed this when I read it in Sept. 2012. I gave it away to my sister as soon as I completed it.
  15minutes | Oct 3, 2012 |
I heard Christopher Tilghman speak at this year's L.A. Book Festival. He was on a panel about families with Janet Fitch and Julie Otsuka. The prequel to Mason's Retreat had just been published and it sounded wonderful, but I wanted to read the first book first. I just finished it and now I can't wait to read The Right-Hand Shore.

Mason's Retreat tells the story of the Mason family, from 1936 to 1939. Edward and Edith had moved to England soon after their marriage in the 1920s. They have two sons, Sabastien 13 and Simon 6, who have never lived in the United States. The family has suffered financial reversals due to The Depression. Edward decides they should move to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he has a large family farm called Mason's Retreat. Edward Mason is a complex and potentially-tragic protagonist. He has failed at just about everything he has undertaken. Mason's Retreat offers him a second chance. On the surface he is doing fine, but his wife Edith sees the signs that he's getting ready to "take bold steps," "to make forthright decisions," which always lead to disaster for Edward and his family. Edith and the boys love it there, but Edward has some notable failures as a farmer. The foreman and hired man really don't need his "help." Soon the farm is running well enough to support the family in Maryland and himself in England, so Edward leaves his family for what turns out to be two years. As England prepares for war, Edward's factory regains its solvency and he wants the family to join him in England.

Tilghman is simply a wonderful writer and the longer I read this book the more I loved it -- the characters, the setting, and the author's writing style. He employs several characters as narrators, often beginning an incident as told by one character, then switching to another, and finally another. They are not telling the same story over again, but picking it up from another perspective and moving it forward. This technique imparts a fullness to the narrative, giving it sweep and motion. The primary narrators are Edith, Sebastien, the black hired man Robert, and -- to a lesser extent -- Edward and his grandson Harry Mason, who begins and ends the novel. For me, the book really took off about halfway through, when Tilghman begins writing about sailing. I have not sailed in decades but Tilghman brought back the experience for me as if it were yesterday.

"The noise of the sails and the shouting and the wind rose until, with a delicate hand on the wheel, Hazelton caught the wind and suddenly there was not a sound but the warm creak of stretching Manila and a gravelly scraping of bubbles on the hull below" (p. 155).

Tllghman also portrays homelife beautifully, both at Mason's Retreat and in Tuckertown, the nearby settlement where the black families live. Although Mason's Retreat is dilapidated and without electricity when the Masons return, the black servants Loretta and Valerie also arrive the next morning to begin reviving the place. Life for the women and children centers around the kitchen:

"The room was now full of voices, from the pure ring of Simon's soprano to the husky and milky roll of Loretta's exultations, the food and the lessons mingling, the day passing, the sounds of study and the smells of cooking all speaking of some kind of promise" (p. 112).

Robert is a sad and lonely character, who remembers Tuckertown in better times; I love the rhythm and the evocative nature of this passage:

"Everyone had work, everyone had food. The air in Tuckertown was always filled with the scents of baking and roasing; the buttermilk up from the springhouse was so cold it hurt your eyes to drink it. There was time to visit in the summer, plenty of wood to burn in the winter. Robert's memories came to him like the red taste of whisky, alive and smooth. Tuckerman was Jerusalem, and all of them, the Gales, the Morrises, the Goulds, were the chosen" (p. 178).

My copy of the this book is filled with little post-it flags marking favorite passages. I found myself reading slowly, to savor the language and prolong the pleasure of reading Mason's Retreat. From the beginning, I sensed a tragic ending and when it came it was heartbreaking and believable. Now, on to The Right-Hand Shore. ( )
  krbrancolini | May 21, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

It is 1936, and the world is on the brink of war. American expatriot Edward Mason, owner of a failing machine factory, is fighting more private battles. In the face of defeat, he abandons his adopted home in England in order to reclaim his inheritance on Maryland's Eastern Shore---a ruinous, thousand-acre estate known ominously as Mason's Retreat. Edward, his wife, Edith, and their two young sons struggle to adjust to life in this strange and storied place. But with war drawing closer, England's hasty rearmament offers Edward a chance to revive the factory, and he returns alone to lead his company. Meanwhile, his wife and sons are left to make their own fortunes. When an unsigned letter informs Edward of where those fortunes have led, he hastens back, an ill-fated move that will have devastating consequences for everyone involved.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The year is 1936, and the world is on the brink of war. American expatriot Edward Mason, owner of a failing machine factory, is fighting more private battles. In the face of defeat, he abandons his adopted home in England in order to reclaim his inheritance on Maryland’s Eastern Shore---a ruinous, thousand-acre estate known ominously as Mason’s Retreat. Edward, his wife, Edith, and their two young sons struggle to adjust to life in this strange and storied place. But with war drawing closer, England’s hasty rearmament offers Edward a chance to revive the factory, and he returns alone to lead his company. Meanwhile, his wife and sons are left to make their own fortunes. When an unsigned letter informs Edward of where those fortunes have led, he hastens back, an ill-fated move that will have devastating consequences for everyone involved.

Haunted, moving, and masterfully written, "Christopher Tilghman’s deeply remembered novel is a loyal testament to history---to the lure and bind of family, to the earth that spat us out and receives us unquestionably again"
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.58)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 2
2.5
3 6
3.5 3
4 15
4.5 2
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,681,720 books! | Top bar: Always visible