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A Face Illumined   By: (1838-1888)

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A Face Illumined by Edward Payson Roe is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that delves deep into the complexities of human emotions, relationships, and the pursuit of happiness. Set in the vibrant backdrop of New York City in the late 19th century, this book follows the journeys of several interconnected characters whose lives are intertwined in unexpected ways.

Roe's writing style is elegant and rich, allowing readers to vividly picture the bustling streets, the opulent mansions, and the social intricacies of the era. The author's attention to detail is remarkable, effortlessly transporting readers back in time to experience the sights, sounds, and even the smell of the city.

At the core of this novel is the story of Laetitia Raynor, a young woman burdened by the pressures of society and her domineering father. Laetitia's journey towards self-discovery and true happiness forms the backbone of the narrative. Roe beautifully captures her evolution, her struggles, and her moments of triumph, making her a relatable and inspiring character.

One of the novel's strongest aspects is its exploration of the human psyche, particularly through the character of Hamilton Skidmore. Roe masterfully portrays Skidmore's internal battles and conflicting desires, offering a nuanced perspective on the internal struggle individuals face when torn between societal expectations and personal authenticity.

Moreover, A Face Illumined delves deeply into the complexities of class distinctions, gender roles, and the limitations imposed by society during that time. Roe skillfully intertwines these themes throughout the narrative, showcasing the stark contrasts and injustices that characterized the era.

The plot, although at times slow-paced, remains engaging and immersive. The gradual unfolding of events and the intricate web of relationships keep readers hooked, as they eagerly await the resolution of the characters' inner conflicts and external challenges. Roe's storytelling prowess shines as he seamlessly weaves together multiple storylines, creating a tapestry of interconnected lives.

However, one minor criticism of the book lies in the occasional melodrama that peppers the narrative. While it adds flair and intensity to certain scenes, it can also occasionally feel overwrought and clich├ęd.

Overall, A Face Illumined is a literary gem that transports readers to another time and immerses them in fascinating characters and their poignant journeys. Roe's beautiful prose, well-developed characters, and insightful exploration of societal norms make this novel a compelling read for anyone interested in historical fiction and human relationships.

First Page:

A Face Illumined

by E. P. Roe


As may be gathered from the following pages, my title was obtained a a number of years ago, and the story has since been taking form and color in my mind. What has become of the beautiful but discordant face I saw at the concert garden I do not know, but I trust that that the countenance it suggested, and its changes may not prove so vague and unsatisfactory as to be indistinct to the reader. It has looked upon the writer during the past year almost like the face of a living maiden, and I have felt, in a way that would be hard to explain, that I have had but little to do with its expressions, and that forces and influences over which I had no control were moulding character.

The old garden, and the aged man who grew young within it, are not creations, but sacred memories.

That the book may tend to ennoble other faces than that of Ida Mayhew, is the earnest wish of

E. P. Roe.

Cornwall on the Hudson, N. Y.


Chapter I: A Face..............................................11 Chapter II: Ida Mayhew.........................................22 Chapter III: An Artist's Freak.................................35 Chapter IV: A Parthian Arrow...................................42 Chapter V: Spite.................. Continue reading book >>

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