This was the first book which Willa Cather had published and although I quite enjoyed it, I think I can safely say that she definitely improved with practice.
It’s the story of Bartley Alexander who is a famous bridge builder. He is married to Winifred who is a supportive wife and gives him respectability and a comfortable home life.
He is having what would nowadays be called a mid-life crisis, in other words he just wants to have his cake and eat it. When he meets up with Hilda,who is an Irish actress and an old flame of his, he can’t help being seduced by her and the more Bohemian life-style which she leads. She represents freedom, glamour and Europe.
The book has a very Calvinistic ending, in that you must pay for your sins in this world. It’s also obviously modelled on Edith Wharton’s writing.
I hope to read all of Willa Cather’s books eventually, it should be interesting to see how her style developed.