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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

*[Blog Tour Review] Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara

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A novel of art and desire in the 1930s

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will become engrossed in this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 384 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E- book/Audio
Publication Date: April 30th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published August 16th 2012)            
When I first got the tour invited for Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara I was so excited to finally be reading the novel as it had been on my TBR shelf since June of last year when I was perusing Goodreads and came across the stunning cover of this book that had an equally alluring summary.
While I'm a lover of historical fiction I don't read books set after 1900 very often since I don't find them historical enough for me to enjoy but there was something about Cascade that really caught my eye and made me want to give the book, and the era it was set in a chance, one that I'm glad I gave it since it turned out to be better than I could have hoped for.
Desdemona's story really struck a chord with me. Her struggle with learning and striving to be the woman she wants to be yet stuck in a loveless marriage with a good, honest but passionless man Asa Spaulding. Her struggle with the towns people of Cascade, dealing with her father's death and legacy as well as her feelings for Jacob Solomon. I loved how this was such an amazingly emotional and realistic struggle of searching for one's sense of self and the consequence one has to deal with because of the choices we make.
The plot enthralling, there's no other word to describe it. Maryanne O'Hara did an excellent job making the words leap off the page and whisk me away to Cascade in the 1930's. I loved the atmosphere of the story and thought that the pacing of the novel was just right. It was neither too fast or too slow and it flowed seamlessly from one scene to the next for the most part. For me my only real issue with the book was that I thought it wrapped up a little to quickly for me and would have liked to see it build up a wee bit more but that's perhaps just me.
I thought that Maryanne O'Hara's character development was very good. My favourite was Desdemona, she could be a little self centered and high strung but I really enjoyed reading her story. The other characters like Asa and Jacob were interesting and I liked seeing their dynamics with Desdemona play out but the most enjoyable thing about them was that they were all very realistic and I thought that added a lot to the over all story.
Overall, I found Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara to be even better than I had hoped it would be. The plot was compelling and made me read into the wee hours of the early morning and had me totally invested in the characters and I can't wait to see what the author comes out with next because I'll be buying it as soon as it hits the shelves.
I would highly recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction set in the 1930's who enjoy character driven plots as well as novels that deal with personal growth and hard choices.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
I read this book for the following reading challenges:
2013 150+ Reading Challenge
2013 Historical Reading Challenge
Loved It!

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Author Bio:
Maryanne O'Hara
Maryanne O’Hara was the longtime associate fiction editor at the award-winning literary journal Ploughshares. She received her MFA from Emerson College fifteen years ago, and wrote short fiction that was widely published before committing to the long form. She lives on a river near Boston.


  1. Thanks so much for this lovely review of my book, which I'm seeing first thing this morning while it thunders rain around me. A very bright start to the day! I am so glad you enjoyed it. Nice job providing all those links, as well.

  2. This has been on my TBR for a while and I'm pretty sure I picked it from yours. So glad to know that the plot is enthralling. I hope I like the wrap-up more than you did, look forward to reading this book. Great review!

  3. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
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