PORTRAIT IN BROWNSTONE by Louis Auchincloss

PORTRAIT IN BROWNSTONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another solid, spacious, leisurely and assured novel proceeds from the by now familiar Auchincloss provenance,- that protected but not sequestered world of privilege and prestige, inherited by another wealthy, social New York family- the Denisons. This is primarily the story of Ida Denison, whose plain looks conceal other non-negotiable assets- submissiveness, patience and a very worldly intelligence. Losing Derrick Hartley in the first round to her beautiful cousin Geraldine, she is knowingly second-best when she accepts his proposal on the rebound, but she achieves a workable marriage, two children- Dorcas and Hugo, and finally the real vindication of the years she spends on sufferance in silence when Derrick abandons Geraldine altogether after a briefly renewed and disappointing affair. Then too, there's the story of Dorcas and Hugo, the improvement of their lives through Ida's intervention, so that at the end, with Geraldine's suicide and Derricks's immobilization in a wheelchair (after a heart attack) Ida has gained what every woman wants- sovereign status- by applying the principles every woman knows... The ironic implications aside, this is a poised and polished story which benefits greatly from its background. Auchincloss has reproduced it with authority without diminishing its aura, surely an attraction for his readership which will be increased by its selection as a midsummer Literary Guild extra.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1962
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin