Finding the Value in Rare Objects. Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro
This beautifully written book strikes straight at the heart, like all of Kathleen Tessaro's novels. Tessaro's writing improves with each novel, and this is definitely one of her best. Be warned, however. The story is extremely miserable at times.
When the novel begins, Mae has returned to her small but bright Irish/ Italian suburb in Boston after getting into a mess in New York. She failed to find the success that she craved, so she turned to drink and slept around. After having an abortion, she ended up in an asylum where she made one very strange friend.
A clever girl, Mae 'reinvents' herself and finds a job in an antique store surrounded by lovely and rare objects. She becomes fascinated by the idea of the owner of the store who travels on exotic adventures and they begin a correspondence. But when Mr Winshaw arrives, Mae finds him disappointing and his conversation rather banal. She is much more attracted to the wealthy James, the odd Diana's brother...
There are many dichotomies in this novel- between fantasy and reality, infatuation and love and wealth and true riches. Mae has to learn many difficult lessons during the course of the novel. I never used to like novels that are written in the first person, but this helped me to feel for Mae during her several trials.
Rare Objects has a likeable, but flawed hero and heroine, an interesting villain, an atmospheric historical setting in Depression-era Boston and a moving love story which may even make you cry. The other characters in the book, such as Mae's irritable Irish mother and her old Italian friend, are well-drawn. This is a must-read if you like well-written historical love stories!