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Charleston is a place on my “bucket list.” I love cities with charm, atmosphere, history and style --- and Charleston seems to have all of that. Thus, when I saw Margaret Bradham Thornton’s debut novel, CHARLESTON, on a shelf at a conference earlier this year, I knew I had to read it.
Eliza Poinsett left Charleston years ago, first for school at Princeton and Columbia (she has two Masters; one in English and one in Art History) and then for England, where she became an art historian. At a wedding across the pond that she attends with her British boyfriend, Jamie, she runs into her old flame from Charleston, Henry. Seeing him evokes memories of home.
When she is lured back to the States for her stepsister’s debut, Eliza again sees Henry, and it’s quite clear that the flames between them had just been ebbing and by no means are extinguished. Eliza finds herself caught up in a decision on whether to stay in Charleston or head back to England. Before she does that, she needs to unravel the complicated world that Henry has drawn her into, as well as come to terms with the reasons they split in the past.
Charleston is a character here, and in fact may rival Eliza for the lead role. Stately homes that have been in families for generations --- and bear their names -- are coveted here. The land around the city is awash with history as well. I read it in a day and wanted to get my plane ticket booked once I closed it.
By the way, Thornton’s previous work, NOTEBOOKS, looked at the life and work of Tennessee Williams. Readers will enjoy the references she makes to his work in CHARLESTON.
- Publication Date: July 29, 2014
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ecco
- ISBN-10: 006233252X
- ISBN-13: 9780062332523