Sarah Orne Jewett
I gave a little preview of this book last week, and I’ve finally sat down to write a proper review. The novella is set in the fictional seaside village of Dunnet, Maine. The unnamed narrator is a writer who escapes her big sitting residence for the summer to spend some quiet time working. Over the course of the season she gets to know, and love, both the town and its inhabitants. Reading along, I fell in love with the place right along with her.
You could always tell when she was stepping about there, even when you were half awake in the morning, and learned to know, in the course of a few weeks’ experience, in exactly which corner of the garden she might be.
We were standing where there was a fine view of the harbor and its long stretches of shore all covered by the great army of the pointed firs, darkly cloaked and standing as if they waited to embark. As we looked far seaward among the outer islands, the trees seemed to march seaward still, going steadily over the heights and down to the water’s edge.
But it is Mrs. Todd who forms the heart of this book. She always knows what to do or say to make a person feel better. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes of hers:
“There’s some herb that’s good for everybody, except for them that thinks they’re sick when they ain’t.”
“Yes’m, old friends is always best, ‘less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of.”
I think I’ve found a new old friend in The Country of the Pointed Firs.