Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beyond the Bougainvillea-Dolores Durando

Beyond the Bougainvillea
Dolores Durando
Bell Bridge (Belle Books), Feb 15 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9781611940046

In 1924 in North Dakota, her widower father barters his sixteen years old intelligent daughter Mary Margaret for a piece of land. Thus Mary marries the much older Garrity, a drunk. Growing up abused by her father, Mrs. Marge Garrity expects more of the same just by a different abuser as she has no rights.

However, Marge refuses to trade down by allowing a new violent male to harm her. She flees the upper Plains for California. In Los Angeles, Marge struggles to survive as the great depression hammers America, but soon finds a welcome by those who constructed the Ruck-a-chucky Dam on the American River. There she also meets and is attracted to a Cherokee engineer working for Army Corp.

“We come a long way baby” is evident in this great historical fiction that through one of the best casts of the year. They bring alive the Women’s Suffragette movement and the Great depression. The key is that there is no supervillain only everyday flawed people trying to survive during hard times and nasty incidents made even more difficult for women without male protection and no rights. Nonagenarian Dolores Durando provides a marvelous timely look back with her epic debut tale of an era in which not so perfect (but beguiling) Marge tries to make it in a world that condemns women who left their male provider.

Harriet Klausner

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