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3.0 

The Prodigal Women: A Novel

By Nancy Hale & Kate Bolick
The Prodigal Women: A Novel by Nancy Hale & Kate Bolick digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Rediscover the sensational 1942 bestseller that unveiled the Jazz Age as women lived it

As seen in THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW and VANITY FAIR


Set in Boston, New York, and Virginia, The Prodigal Women tells the intertwined stories of three young women who come of age in the Roaring Twenties, not flappers and golden girls but flesh-and-blood female protagonists looking wearily—and warily—at the paths open to women in a rapidly changing world.

Leda March, “frantic with self-consciousness and envy and desire,” is the daughter of poorer relations of a prominent Boston family and an aspiring poet torn between an impulse to conformity and the pursuit of personal freedom. Betsy Jekyll, newly arrived with her family from Virginia, becomes Leda’s closest childhood friend, bringing a beguiling new warmth and openness into the New Englander’s life. But Betsy soon abandons Boston to land a job at a fashion magazine and enjoy life as a single woman in New York before falling in love with—and marrying—an abusive, controlling man. Betsy’s older sister, Maizie, a Southern belle idolized by the two younger friends and pursued by numerous men, grows tired of “running around” and fatefully looks for happiness in marriage to a turbulent artist.

When The Prodigal Women was published in 1942, its uncompromising portrayal of women’s shifting roles, open sexuality, and ambivalence toward motherhood made it a succèss de scandale, spending twenty-three weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Now Library of America restores Nancy Hale’s lost classic to print with a new introduction by Kate Bolick exploring how the novel measures “the gap between what liberation looks like, and what it actually is.”

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1 Review

3.0
“This took me a while. And it was really good. I learned a lot about these characters, some things that made me laugh, some things that made me stare blankly at the pages, and some things that made me really question Hale's mind. But it's all good. I highly recommend this book if you're interested in the minds of young girls who question: What is it about me that I can change to make others like me?”

About Nancy Hale

Nancy Hale (1908-1988) was born in Boston to a distinguished New England family whose forbearers include Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale and Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was the author of eight novels, including the bestselling The Prodigal Women, four short story collections, two memoirs, two plays, children's stories, and a biography on Mary Cassatt. The winner of ten O. Henry Awards, Hale published over two hundred stories and essays, eighty of which appeared in The New Yorker, making her one of the most important contributors in the history of the magazine.

Kate Bolick is the author of Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own and co-author of March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women.

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