COPPER BEECH by Ariadne Thompson


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A sad, rather trite but true novel, contains most of the more overt grievances between the sexes. Ham Yerby, a rich, self- righteous, family-proud man, who lives in an exclusive community with his second wife, Willa, and a daughter by each marriage, comes home one afternoon to find that Willa, is dead. Apparently mousey and domestic Willa has gone on a hunting trip with her lover, the local tree-pruner, and been accidentally shot. The community's reactions are described in female conversations that show a depressing range of unhappy marriages, and reveal Willa's true personalities and reasons. Willa's reasons are chiefly Ham. As shown in flashbacks, Ham represents so many, unfortunately true, male faults and blindspots that he is more of a target than a human being. But he is also oddly touching, partly because of Willa, who finally emerges as a strong and winning person, in love with him. Ham suffers a heart attack and rehabilitation at the end, an interesting divergence from Lady Chatterley to which the theme bears a slight resemblance. The differences in this female, practical, suburban viewpoint make good comparative reading- chiefly for women.

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill