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Harlequin and Columbine   By: (1869-1946)

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Harlequin and Columbine by Booth Tarkington is a captivating tale that explores the complexity of human relationships and the power of love. Set in the early 20th century, the story follows the lives of two main characters, Harlequin and Columbine, as they navigate the challenges of their respective backgrounds and find solace in each other.

Tarkington's writing style is elegant and immersive, transporting readers to a bygone era filled with vibrant descriptions and elaborate settings. His attention to detail is commendable, creating an atmosphere that feels tangible and alive. The prose flows effortlessly, allowing the narrative to unfold gracefully and maintain a steady pace throughout.

While Harlequin and Columbine is primarily a love story, Tarkington skillfully weaves in themes of societal expectations, class differences, and the consequences of one's choices. The characters are richly developed, with Harlequin serving as the charismatic and enigmatic suitor, and Columbine as the intelligent and spirited young woman faced with challenging circumstances. Their contrasting backgrounds add depth to their interactions, highlighting the obstacles they must overcome to be together.

One of the book's notable strengths is the exploration of the human psyche. Tarkington delves into the inner thoughts and emotions of his characters, offering readers a profound understanding of their motivations and desires. This psychological depth elevates the story, making it more than just a simple romantic tale. It becomes a reflection on the nature of love, sacrifice, and the ever-changing dynamics of relationships.

However, the plot occasionally loses momentum, particularly in the middle section, where some passages feel prolonged and unnecessary. While these moments may test readers' patience, they do not detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the novel. Luckily, Tarkington manages to recapture the initial sense of intrigue and deliver a satisfying resolution that ties up loose ends and provides the desired emotional payoff.

Harlequin and Columbine is a timeless love story that transcends its era. Tarkington's writing captures the essence of human connection, reminding us of the enduring power of love in the face of adversity. With its well-developed characters, immersive setting, and profound exploration of the human psyche, this book is a recommended read for anyone seeking an engaging and thought-provoking tale.

First Page:


By Booth Tarkington


For a lucky glimpse of the great Talbot Potter, the girls who caught it may thank that conjunction of Olympian events which brings within the boundaries of one November week the Horse Show and the roaring climax of the football months and the more dulcet, yet vast, beginning of the opera season. Some throbbing of attendant multitudes coming to the ears of Talbot Potter, he obeyed an inward call to walk to rehearsal by way of Fifth Avenue, and turning out of Forty fourth Street to become part of the people sea of the southward current, felt the eyes of the northward beating upon his face like the pulsing successions of an exhilarating surf. His Fifth Avenue knew its Talbot Potter.

Strangers used to leisurely appraisals upon their own thoroughfares are apt to believe that Fifth Avenue notices nothing; but they are mistaken; it is New York that is preoccupied, not Fifth Avenue. The Fifth Avenue eye, like a policeman's, familiar with a variety of types, catalogues you and replaces you upon the shelf with such automatic rapidity that you are not aware you have been taken down. Fifth Avenue is secretly populous with observers who take note of everything.

Of course, among these peregrinate great numbers almost in a stupor so far as what is closest around them is concerned; and there are those, too, who are so completely busied with either the consciousness of being noticed, or the hope of being noticed, or the hatred of it, that they take note of nothing else... Continue reading book >>

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