Posts Tagged ‘kathleennorris’


The Heart of Rachael

February 1, 2011

The Heart of Rachael is a 1916 bestseller by Kathleen Thompson Norris, and the best word I can think of to describe it is ‘involved.’ I had a whole synopsis of the plot written out, but it was kind of dull without all the semi-coherent insights into people’s characters interspersed with the exposition. So, let’s see how radically I can simplify it.

Rachael Fairfax, age 21, marries Clarence Breckenridge, a divorcé with a young daughter. Their marriage turns out very badly, mostly because Clarence doesn’t really care about anyone but his daughter Carol, commonly known as Billy. Also, Clarence is an alcoholic. Seven years into the marriage, Rachael decides she can’t stand it anymore and divorces him. She spends the summer becoming a better person, or something, and at the end of it she marries Dr. Warren Gregory, who is very much in love with her, because she has realized that she’s also very much in love with him.

Things go pretty well for them, but, although everyone is pretty much agreed that Rachael’s divorce was as justified as any divorce ever, she’s still really sensitive about it. Especially when, soon after Rachael and Warren are married, Billy runs off to marry another alcoholic divorcé, and Clarence kills himself. No one else seems to be bothered about this as much as Rachael is. Read the rest of this entry ?