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A B O U T T H E B O O
Mary Sharratt does a remarkable job of evoking a region and an era. Her period details are wonderful. Like the best writers, Mary Sharratt knows how to find extraordinary drama in ordinary lives.
The Real Minerva is an amazing novel: mythic and mysterious, sensual and compelling, deliciously suspenseful.
Is it possible to leave your past behind and become someone wholly different? This strongly plotted, fiercely imagined novel centers on a small town's secrets and the harrowing choices that three women will be forced to make as each struggles to pursue her dreams in a society where restraints far outweigh liberties.
Minerva, Minnesota, in 1923 is the picture of Willa Cather-like gentility. It's also a small town of limited opportunity, a place where the status quo is firmly entrenched and rigidly enforced. The troubled relationship between young Penny and her mother, Barbara, is getting worse. Disturbed by her mother's affair with the man they clean house for, Penny answers an ad to work for Cora Egan, a Chicago society woman who has fled a bad marriage and intends to raise her child alone on her grandfather's farm. Cora's situation shocks Minerva, but over time her presence opens a door in Penny's and Barbara's lives. Through these women, Mary Sharratt considers what it takes to reinvent the self, to claim one's true identity.
The exquisite historical detail and emotional resonance of The Real Minerva will appeal to readers who enjoy classic storytelling with a modern spirit.