Did I miss something? Did we ever find out any real details about Virginia's husband in Florida? Sophie and Octavian are mentioned, but Virginia and her husband are the main focus. See all 5 questions about A Certain Age…. Lists with This Book.
THAT CERTAIN AGE | Library of Congress
Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Feb 15, Will Byrnes rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , new-york-city , historical-fiction , nyc. When the girls admire him a young man takes it as a matter of course; but when a widow selects him for her attention he thrills with the knowledge that he is being stamped with the approval of a connoisseur. She shares a 5th Avenue residence and a lovely place in Southampton with her very-much-alive husband, Sylvester.
Octavian Rofrano, the year-old she often refers to as Boyo, manages to prove, with some frequency and energy, that When the girls admire him a young man takes it as a matter of course; but when a widow selects him for her attention he thrills with the knowledge that he is being stamped with the approval of a connoisseur. Marshall is goofy for her flyboy, Rofrano being late of World War I, although a lot less late than most of his fellow pilots.
She is stuck on him enough to have begun having notions of them taking it on the lam together. If only life were so simple. Beatriz Williams - from her FB pages There is the problem of Sophie Fortescue, 19, an heiress to a successful, if somewhat reclusive inventor father, mom having reached a bad end many years back.
Jay is not as far along in years as his sister, but is past his first bloom. An erstwhile man about town, he is eager to marry young Sophie, and secure not only the companionship of a beautiful and vivacious partner, but the not insignificant advantage of her considerable inheritance.
“Of a Certain Age” Examines the Lives of Aging Actors Through Reversed Casting
But seeing Sophie sparks something in young Rofrano. Complications ensue. We are introduced to the goings on by a gossip columnist for the New York Herald-Times. It is May and nom-de-plume Patty Cake fills us in on what looks like the crime of the century in Greewich, CT, a juicy case in which The Patent King is on trial for his life, his daughters, The Patent Princesses , in attendance. Ms Cake pops in from time to time to update us on the progress of the trial, and to add a third voice, enough to help plait the Theresa and Sophie threads into a lovely braid.
LOVE, the quest; marriage, the conquest; divorce, the inquest. Lest one think of her as maybe too modern a woman, it should be borne in mind that the 20s was not called Roaring for nothing. It was a time of change. Boundaries were being pushed.
Sophie is considered daring because she wants to work for her living instead of being a prize awarded to the highest bidder. Theresa takes advantage of the more daring culture of the day to match her philandering mate, for a change, in partaking of the world. Octavian confronts considerable survivor guilt, having made it through the vagaries of The Great War, while having lost so many of his fellow flyers. Everybody seems to be going through life at automobile speed nowadays; but alas, there are no sentimental garages by Life's wayside at which we may obtain a fresh supply of emotions, purchase a new thrill or patch up an exploded ideal.
Williams offers a nifty look at the s, peppering her novel with elements of the dynamic culture and the odd sign-post. Ty Cobb and his infamous demeanor are tossed across the stage early on. That relatively new-fangled automotive device comes in for some use as well.
Here is a nice passage that gives a sense of much of this era-capturing The bartender. The bar. So forbidden and masculine, an unimaginable place for a girl to find herself—alone!
Hooch, speakeasy, blotto. Trivializing everything in the world. I love how Williams posilutely picks up the sudden societal unsteadiness that followed the horror of war, as the world tried, once more, to regain its balance. It is putting her story in the context of a time of great upheaval, made manifest in her characters, that raises it from a pretty good novel, with a sparkling character in Theresa, to something higher. The name Octavian Rofrano is lifted whole from that.
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Sophie remains Sophie. Williams added the murder mystery element to move things along, as the plot of her source material was a bit thin. It is no surprise that she finds inspiration in the classics. Williams was raised in Ashland, Oregon, and was exposed early on to a regular diet of Shakespeare and some of the more refined forms of public entertainment offered in that notable college town.
After marriage, a woman's sight becomes so keen that she can see right through her husband without looking at him, and a man's so dull that he can look right through his wife without seeing her. And if the name is unfamiliar, you are in good company.
A Certain Age is a fun read. It points out some of the gender issues coming to the fore at the time. It notes how possibilities for women, in both work and love were constraining and loosening. But that is understructure. The characters are fun to follow, with Theresa standing above the rest, and Patty Cake offering some extra spice.
You may be reminded of A Little Night Music , although with fewer jokes. The mystery element keeps the story moving along quite nicely. I would be shocked if this is not one of the major summer reads of A Certain Age is a certain hit. Her books tend toward the historical and the romantic.
Usually I gag at such things, but I was able to manage this one quite well. View all 26 comments. Nov 03, Erin rated it liked it. Entertaining but not as riveting as the other books by Beatriz Williams that I've read. Oct 12, Christina rated it really liked it. But Williams sets her twist of this story in New York, during the roaring 20's. Williams explains in her author's note that the opera was meant to enact a struggle between old and new - old 3.
Williams explains in her author's note that the opera was meant to enact a struggle between old and new - old money and new money, physical maturity and youth And her novel really showcases that, especially taking place in the 's, where there was a ton of conflict between tradition and modernism. The 20's were a time of great change for the world as a whole, but especially here in America.
Things that were unheard of just years ago are suddenly becoming the new norm The prohibition is going on, hemlines are being raised, automobiles are already clogging up traffic and returning soldiers are still struggling with memories of WW1. But Williams takes a bit of liberty with her retelling, adding in the suspense of a murder mystery. The novel opens with an article, dated May 29th of , of a woman reporting on the Trial of the Century. The details aren't made clear right away as to who's on trial and what the crime was, but we get snippets of the article's reports throughout the book.
The rest alternates between the POVs of Mrs. Theresa Marshall our lady of a certain age and Miss Sophie Fortescue, a sheltered daughter to a newly wealthy inventor. Sophie lives with her father and her older sister Virginia, along with Virginia's young daughter Evelyn. Virginia's husband is very much absent, in Florida trying to establish a life before he sends for his wife and daughter. Their POV opens a bit earlier than the article, on the second day of We meet Theresa's young lover, Octavian Rofrano.
They met after he had just returned from the War, where he was a pilot. He is twenty-two years old, my Boy, and therefore a man, in the eyes of his almighty Lord God and of the law. He looks like a man, all the more now than when I first saw him. That was the summer of , a year and a half ago, and he was a man in a boy's skin, let me tell you, a perfect pink-cheeked Boyo, young lips and old eyes. Octavian wants nothing more than for Theresa to divorce her husband and to bear him children and marry him. He is, thus far, quite devoted to her.
To Miss Sophie Fortescue. As an old family tradition though, he proposes through a cavalier. He goes to his dear sister, to ask for her assistance in providing said suitable cavalier, and she persuades Octavian to do it and to also check into the Fortescues, since they seem to be a bit reclusive. Loyalties are split as a triangle of a sort forms. Octavian also happens to discover a secret that members of the Fortescue family have been hiding, and the revelations are soon to come to light, very publicly. I completely agree with Williams observation that her quotes are an interesting insight into the changing social times at the turn of the century, but it's funny how a lot of her wisdom still holds true today.
This one kept me guessing until the very end too. I didn't see the twist coming until it was right before me and I was a bit surprised at the ending of this book. I was left unsatisfied with Virginia's ending And speaking of the Schuyler's One of the things that I love about Williams books are that we see familiar characters from previous books in each one. This is no exception. In this book, we get to see Julie Schuyler who has been a constant in every book I've read by Williams but not as the grand older woman that we know and love.
In this glimpse of Julie, she's in her early twenties and living life to the fullest. It was so fun to get that glimpse of her, so different than what I'm used to when envisioning her character. And she's not the only familiar one we get a glimpse of. Of the character's in this book, Theresa was my favorite by far.