The Maze at Windermere: A Novel

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In his recent historical novel The Maze at Windermere, Gregory Blake Smith uses a patchwork of stories that cover a span of three hundred years to reveal life in the small coastal town of Newport, RI. In 2011, a washed-up tennis pro finds himself tangled up in a number of affairs with the women at Windermere. During the Gilded Age, a gay man who has not disclosed his sexual orientation seduces a Dollar Princess for her fortune. Henry James, only an aspiring writer in 1863, observes a woman who will become the inspiration for one of his characters. During the American Revolution, a British soldier becomes infatuated with the daughter of a Portuguese Jew who opposes the match. In 1692, an orphan girl considers her options regarding how to best provide for herself and her younger sister.

Instead of one long, chronological narrative, Smith unravels each of the five separate accounts simultaneously with chapters that cycle through time, using distinct language, style, and tone according to each period. The most interesting links between these stories are the overarching themes, which Smith handles with brilliant nuance: class, race, gender, romance, cultural taboo, and self-fulfillment. Ending only somewhat satisfyingly, this is a complicated narrative that proves to be an absorbing read.


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Author Gregory Blake Smith
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Viking
Publish Date 2018-Jan-09
ISBN 9780735221925
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Historical Fiction
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