THE DEATH OF THE ORANGE TREES by Claire Nicolas

THE DEATH OF THE ORANGE TREES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Death of the Orange Trees is a short novel dealing with two families forced to come to terms with the real life of the present. The Gerrishes are an old New England family keeping up an elegant style of life in Connecticut, too lavish for their means and, by the standards of their neighbors, downright eccentric. (Symbolizing their obeisance to a bygone time are their orange trees which must be transplanted twice a year because of the unsuitable climate.) The only married daughter Maria, lives with her painter husband, Paul, and their six children in the caretaker's cottage and the life of her own family is lived according to the despotism, if benevolent, of the Gerrishes. Maria's problem is one of divided loyalties; she really can't decide where she belongs -- with ""the family that created her or with the family she created"". The crisis begins when Maria's father dies and a decision must be made about the big house. Complicating matters is the fact that after 14 years of marriage Paul decides that his wife loves the Gerrish house and all that it signifies more than him and he leaves her. Their separation is brief though (in the meantime he becomes a success) and all ends happily when widow Gerrish sensibly decides to accommodate herself to her lessened circumstances. It's a neat, tidy little story and no one could argue with the moral.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1962
Publisher: Harper & Row