Dear Lily: A Love Story

Malcolm W. Greenough, Author Yankee Books $15.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-89909-136-5
A charming paen to a bygone way of life, this highly personal, part fictional memoir resulted from the author's research into his family history. Structured around a series of letters from Lily Violett of New Orleans to her great-nephew Mally, the narrative traces the family through its maternal line. Lily describes the collapse of the South after the Civil War and the bitter period of Reconstruction. Central to the story is Lily's unrequited love affair with Englishman William Robertson. After her hopes for marriage are dashed, spinster Lily devotes herself to her sister, who marries a wealthy Philadelphian, and later to her sister's children. Many of her descriptions are magical; one letter relates how a plantation owner imported Chinese spiders for his daughter's wedding and set them free in an alley of oak trees; the webs then were sprayed with gold dust. Though sedately told, romance and tragedies pull at the heartstrings, and a picture of a family and its times is sensitively composed. This book will be followed by a sequel. Photos not seen by PW. (August)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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