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His Second Wife   By: (1880-1950)

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Ernest Poole's "His Second Wife" takes readers on a captivating journey through the turbulent relationships and intricate dynamics of an affluent New York family. Tackling themes of love, fidelity, and societal expectations, the novel proves to be a thought-provoking and engaging read.

The story revolves around the central character, Henry G. Vane, a wealthy businessman who finds himself torn between his loyalty to the past and his desires for the future. Following the death of his first wife, Henry embarks on a new life chapter, remarries, and subsequently becomes entangled in a web of conflicting emotions and values.

One of the greatest strengths of Poole's writing lies in his ability to create well-rounded, authentic characters. Henry's struggles and internal conflicts are deeply relatable, stripping away the façade of a supposed perfect life. As the narrative unfolds, readers are drawn into the complex relationships between Henry, his second wife, and his children, which further deepen the exploration of love, duty, and loyalty.

Poole's prose effortlessly breathes life into the upper-class New York society of the early 20th century. The vivid descriptions and attention to detail transport readers into the eloquent parlors and opulent mansions of the era, serving as a rich backdrop that enhances the novel's themes and conflicts. Additionally, the author's exploration of the class divide adds an extra layer of complexity to the characters' interactions, revealing the ways in which social status impacts their choices and decisions.

While "His Second Wife" is primarily a character-driven novel, it also delves into thought-provoking philosophical questions about the nature of love and the expectations placed on individuals in marriage. Poole skillfully navigates these complex themes, raising important questions about societal norms and the impact they have on relationships.

However, there are moments when the pacing of the novel slows down, and some scenes may feel excessively detailed, occasionally causing the narrative to lose momentum. Yet, these minor flaws do not detract significantly from the overall value and enjoyment of the story.

In conclusion, "His Second Wife" is a compelling and emotionally charged novel that delves into the complexities of love, duty, and societal expectations. Poole's ability to create authentic characters and his skillful exploration of themes make this a worthwhile read. Whether one is enthralled by the New York of the early 20th century or captivated by the intricacies of human relationships, this novel offers an engrossing and thought-provoking experience.

First Page:







On a train speeding toward New York, in one of the parlour cars two young women sat facing each other, talking and smiling, deeply absorbed. They took little apparent notice of any one else in the car, but most of the people near them kept throwing curious glances their way.

These glances differed vastly, as did the thoughts behind them. A tall, genial Westerner, who looked as though he had come from a ranch, smiled frankly and hungrily on the pair and told himself with emphasis, "Those two girls are fifty fifty. I'd like a dozen of each brand." And a slim college boy with fresh, eager eyes kept darting quick looks from time to time at the older of the two, the blonde. He asked himself confusedly, "How'd I start in with a woman like her?" And exciting pictures rose in his mind. In the meantime an elderly lady, with a sharp, inquisitive air, had put down the ages of the girls at twenty two and thirty.

"They're sisters," she decided, but then she nearly changed her mind. They were such contrasted types. The blonde gave an appearance of sleek and moneyed elegance, with carefully undulated hair, a rounded bust, and pretty features smooth and plump, with a retroussé nose and rich, full lips, and a manner of easy assurance... Continue reading book >>

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