New Boots

Louis John Fagan, Author A-Peak Publishing $11.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-9667407-7-6
A 100-year-old woman's brief summer love affair when she was 17 is revealed through extended flashbacks to her favorite great-grandson in this awkwardly overwritten first novel. In 1911, Cornelia ""Connie"" McRamsee, an only child and heiress, leaves her family's ""annoyingly posh hilltop estate on Prisonna Street"" in Albany, and accompanies her wealthy parents to a luxurious resort in the Adirondacks. Also staying at the inn is villainous Robert Stimes, whose idea of drunken fun is to shoot an arrow through an apple on a black servant child's head. Unattractive though Stimes is, Connie's parents hope he will marry their daughter. Connie, meanwhile, secretly meets with Samuel Flint, a handsome stable hand, and in an unlikely series of events, the two fall in love. Connie's innocent plan to exchange reading lessons for riding lessons from Samuel soon leads to her sexual awakening, fueling Stimes's jealousy and setting the scene for tragedy. The narrative is burdened with hyperbole and strangled language, for example, ""As a knightly twilight alighted"" and ""The July sun soon ate its way through the gray overcoat and its rays licked up the excess water that last night's rainstorm had dumped."" The period continuity is compromised with vaguely modern slang and unrealistic scenarios, such as Connie disrobing in the inn's moonlit library. The work reads like an unintentional parody of a historical romance novel, mixing the 1900s florid language with crude adolescent humor. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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