By Paula Blanchard
Best known for her masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909) is a writer with enormous resonance for our time. Our fascination with place, with traditional values, and our yearning for a rural utopia all find fulfillment in Jewett's portrayal of the "grand and simple lives" of coastal Maine. In this delicious portrait, Paula Blanchard (biographer of Margaret Fuller and Emily Carr) plunges us into New England literary life in turn-of-the-century Boston, into the circles of Henry James, Lowell, Howells, Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. She delves into Jewett's close friendships with women, from the young Willa Cather and the flamboyant "Mrs. Jack" Gardner, and especially to Annie Fields, her partner in a sustaining "Boston marriage." Her enthralling and insightful glimpses into Jewett's fiction will send readers racing back to a writer of whose work Kipling said "It is the very life."