“It’s not just the incredible gift of physical love at a time in my life when I thought I had to give up any dream of it, but also the gift of a ‘sweet love’, a love without tyranny, from either his side or mine.
I am even grateful for my years alone… I grew stronger in myself and came to know I could survive as a woman alone. There was a kind of cleansing, a taking away of my youthful ‘neediness’, which pollutes relationships when we are young.” (p. 186)
Except for the initial fumble with the fact that the novel was set in 1998, when there was supposed to be the Internet already and I wondered why they still wrote letters to each other — but which later on I found to be believable if they were a very cultured, letter-writing family and the character Tim Reinhart was writing from a very very remote village in Southwestern rural France, when there couldn’t have been good dial-up networking then — I found the novel deep in its understanding of human character and the ways of relationships.
I also liked the epistolary style as it draws the reader in to the story as if they were part of it.