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Book Review: Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon

“A big, heartrending novel about the entangled lives of two women in 1920s New England, both mothers to the same unforgettable girl.
One night in 1917 Beatrice Haven sneaks out of her uncle’s house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear tree, and watches as another woman claims the infant as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start. Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-WWI America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea’s hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle’s house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more when the rum-running manager of the local quarry inadvertently reunites her with Emma Murphy, the headstrong Irish Catholic woman who has been raising Bea’s abandoned child—now a bright, bold, cross-dressing girl named Lucy Pear, with secrets of her own.
In mesmerizing prose, award-winning author Anna Solomon weaves together an unforgettable group of characters as their lives collide on the New England coast. Set against one of America’s most turbulent decades, Leaving Lucy Pear delves into questions of class, freedom, and the meaning of family, establishing Anna Solomon as one of our most captivating storytellers.” Goodreads Summary
To change it up from the thrillers I have been reading in honor of Halloween month, give this novel a try. As I have mentioned earlier, I love the novels that take place around Cape Ann so this was a plus for me.
Solomon gracefully tells the historical tale of a woman, Beatrice, who gives up her baby by a peach tree on Cape Ann. As she returns to Cape Ann, we follow her struggle to not only find herself but confront her past mistakes. On top of all of this, Beatrice is faced with the possibility of finding her daughter after all of these years when the woman who raised her baby unexpectedly appears in Beatrice’s life.
I found the development of characters in this novel superb. Each woman had her own story to tell against the background of the 1920s. Solomon intertwines the life of women across different classes with a unique lens, allowing you to relate to the struggles facing women even today.  I was amazed at everything that is packed in the novel – from unplanned pregnancy to mental illness to class prejudices.

A pleasant read; You will get lost in this story and its intimacy. Enjoy! 4 stars from me.

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