MAY BRETTON by Robert Raynolds


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If this had a spark of humor one might think it a modernized Neither Maid, Wife Nor Widow -- a satire on the pure milkmaid. As it stands, with that theme outmoded, it strikes me as simply a very bad book. May is of the earth, earthy; her love is wrapped up in her New England land and trees; she goes to Havana with her boss to earn $3,000 to pay off the mortgage back home. When her childhood sweetheart finds her out, the wretched pattern of retribution begins. The town is censorious when a married man finds her too obviously attractive; gossip builds mountains from melchills; May finds her new boss very attractive and takes too much for granted. And her emotions play her false, and give plenty of ammunition to the enemies at home, -- Donald and his mother, Paul -- both men she had spurned; and Eliot's wife-in-name-only. At the end, Eliot tries to bring back Donald to legitimatize Eliot's unborn child; Donald kills Eliot and dies of exposure; Paul takes action against May on grounds of ""moral turpitude"" and May seeks shelter with a religious fanatic who makes her his commonlaw wife in the very church that had denied her. The Raynolds of Brothers of the West will not reestablish himself with this.

Publisher: Putnam