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Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
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Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,173 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Sabine Callendar had fled from the stifling propriety of Durham, New England twenty years ago. With a failed marriage behind her and an eighteen year old daughter to present to society, everyone is surprised to find that Sabine has returned, not as the pitiable and broken creature they expected, but as a strong and assured individual with an uncanny ability to see through ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Wooster Book Co (first published 1926)
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Dana Moore It was very descriptive and painted an excellent picture of each character. However, it was boring by today’s standards. This book is nearly 100 years…moreIt was very descriptive and painted an excellent picture of each character. However, it was boring by today’s standards. This book is nearly 100 years of age - expectations were different, during this time period. This book is worth reading. It gives you an understanding of the writing trends and the mindset of people During this time-if these things concern you. (less)

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Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I had ever heard of this book or this author before I started my Pulitzer challenge, and I wonder why. It is my favorite Pulitzer winner to date. The writing and the story flowed effortlessly for me and I felt that in Olivia the author created a character who felt very real and timeless. I highlighted many passages and could relate to many of Olivia's thoughts and emotions despite the nearly 90 years which have elapsed since the writing of this book. I found it to be a truly brilli ...more
I'm not really sure what to say about this Pulitzer Prize Winner. What I can say is that I really wonder how this book won the prize in the first place. By 100 pages I really wanted to stop reading the book all together but struggled on. First, there were too many characters, all who I didn't care about, at all. And secondly, to me, it seemed that there really wasn't much of story here. Not one that really kept my interest. ...more
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I found this book on my quest for a classic written by an author who lived in Ohio. After doing a bit of research, I came across Louis Bromfield. I learned he was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and that he wrote several books including this one a Pulitzer Prize winner! I'm happy to say that I found a gem in more ways than one: the book was fantastic and the author was quite enjoyable. I will definitely read more Bromfield.

So this book struck me as something that transcends its time. He won the Pulitz
Liz Whittaker
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Jacob picked this up from the library to read for himself, but I commandeered it for the weekend. It took me a while to get into. It was written in the late 1920s, which was a slightly more verbose time in literature, and it lacked the sharp and powerful imagery of Fitzgerald. But I was soon sucked in. It’s funny…the whole thing seemed very British/New England-ish. When I was halfway through the novel, I realized that there had only been two events that seemed to have any effect on the plot at a ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer
Yuck. There were a lot of good elements here, in the setting and the backstory, but once I knew Olivia would be sacrificed to endless Duty, I felt like it was pointless. And that happened pretty early in the book. The ending was weak, and the moral was dissatisfying and murky. Even the vocabulary was so limited, repetitive, and predictable. It seemed like a nondescript 1925 melodrama, and nothing that history can't easily leave behind. ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Louis Bromfield won the Pulitzer Prize for Early Autumn in 1927. The book is about a wealthy family in New England with a double life. It chronicles the struggle as in many families between the family which the world sees and the one which remains hidden. The story telling is great and is filled with secrets, infighting, deception and a keen focus on maintaining the family name at all cost. This book surprised me and I enjoyed it very much. I give it 5 stars.
Anna Gabur
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Normally I am not a fan of early 20th century novels because they are very melodramatic, full of pathos and not very relatable. This was not the case here. The writing was lean and pleasant, the plot, while dated, was not exactly cliche. I found myself invested in the lives of the Pentlands in a way that doesn't happen often. Good book. ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I suspect happy people don't make especially good stories, and you ought not to expect many of them in this. Oh, there are a couple of them, but they try not to openly flaunt it. The others realize they gave up their shot at happiness when they were young, and married the wrong people for the wrong reasons. So they were stuck. Stuck because they believed and lived as if family and appearances count for a lot more than happiness.

The prose is interesting enough to tell the story without getting in
Beautiful, kind Olivia Penfield lives a stifling existence with a soulless husband and his puritanical New England family. Unable to stand a life with no joy or even diversion, she starts an affair—although it’s pretty tame by today’s standards—with a wealthy up and coming politician and they fall passionately in love. Will Olivia leave the lies and oppression of her miserable in-laws, or will a sense of duty compel her to stay?
Early Autumn is only an OK book. The plot meanders along until reac
4.5 rounded up

Another Pulitzer Prize winner that was super difficult to find, and I honestly really enjoyed it! The writing and sense of atmosphere here was just lovely, and I really fell into the story. Great characters, and just something about this one really worked for me.
The winner of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book makes me hate books.

I guess people back then liked books where all kinds of extraneous details were shoved in for no good reason. This book should have been 20 pages long.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer, delightful
Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield

Early Autumn is an insightful, excellent, thought provoking, sad Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1927.

Among the main characters, the most important is Olivia Pentland, a tragic figure that at the same time inspires admiration, compassion, respect and melancholy, as she stands as the Last of the Mohicans, the sole representative of a family with a long tradition, which the protagonist rejects and embraces at once.
She has been married to Anson, when she was very youn
Susan O
I loved this book, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. I found it on my Dad's bookshelf and knew nothing about the author or the book. I started reading it because I arrived at an appointment early and it was in the car, otherwise it might have been years before I picked it up. Turns out it was a Pulitzer prize winner for the novel.

The book is very introspective. Written in the 1920s and set in the early part of the century, it explores New England upper-class values and attitudes and how they
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer
This book won the Pulitzer Prize, but I can't see why. The characters are very flat, and it's too explicit that they just represent ideas. There is this old New England family, representing a conventional but hypocritical way of life. Everyone is unhappy, whether a martyr to tradition although she gets no pleasure from it, or a person who flouts tradition out of bitterness and gets no pleasure out of that. The only son and heir was sickly and died, barely even a metaphor for the idea that his ar ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book for its subtle presentation of wisdom. Very good discriptions of thoughts and feelings of one standing at middle age looking at lost opportunities of youth vs. stagnation of status quo as the future. "It was because they possessed a curious, indefinable solidity that the others at Pentlands all lacked, and a certain fire and vitality. Neither blood, nor circumstance, nor tradition, nor wealth, had made life for them an atrophied, empty affair, in which there was no need for eff ...more
Jerry Pogan
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the story of a wealthy New England family who can trace their family back to Revolutionary times and all of the drama and skeletons in their closet. The story of a wealthy family and their tribulations seems to be a common theme from books written in the early twentieth century, of which I've read several and I don't think I've really enjoyed any of them. This was a well written book but fairly boring. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can certainly see why some might struggle with this work. Bromfield takes his time introducing the characters and the staid history of the Pentland family. I read this entire work over two graveyard shifts, in which I had little to do but read. Those who stick it out for the grind that is the first third of this book are rewarded with a complex web of family secrets, moral challenges and a rewarding finish. Olivia Pentland has married in to the family and has always felt like an outsider. She ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me it was like reading John Galsworthy moving his characters to a different continent.
Loved it!

"And she reflected that a stranger coming to Pentlands would find it a pleasant, comfortable house, where the life was easy and even luxurious, where all of them were protected by wealth. He would find them all rather pleasant, normal, friendly people of a family respected and even distinguished. He would say, “Here is a world that is solid and comfortable and sound.”
Yes, it would appear thus to a s
I barely got into this and I was just feeling a "no" from it. Usually, I like historic romances but this was totally boring. After Howard's End, I think I should switch up my reading preferences for a while. I tried to read this for the A-Z classics challenge that I'm doing but I'm putting this aside to try other books for the challenge and to help clear my book shelves.

Maybe I just don't get the books that win the Pulitzer prize. So far the books I read that won the Pulitzer, I haven't really
Michael Finocchiaro
This was the powerful story of the decline of an old Boston family told as the patriarch John slowly dies. His son is lost in writing the fabled family history ignoring his wife Olivia. Her cousin Sabine returns from Europe with her daughter Therese. The tension comes when Sabine starts manipulating the situation and things become unraveled. The writing is very good and the descriptions of the New England countryside are vivifying. The decline of this family is written in less comedic tones than ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzers-read
Nice little book. Nothing earth-shattering about the storyline. It's basically about the turn of the 20th century societal transformation from staid New England colonial countryside elites to a new order. It's what I'd call a less impressive Edith Wharton novel with strong hints of an Americanized Jane Austin style of story. Fairly predictable melodrama around gendered old money society and familial relations. Worthy of the Pulitzer? Probably. But a rather forgettable winner. ...more
Anne Boardman
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was kind of a slow start, which many older, literary books are but it surely made up for last time in the last half of the book. I appreciated that I could get to know the characters well and understand the themes before jumping in with two feet. I kept thinking about the concept of having a wild, passionate nature balanced with the society people are brought up in and recognize as right and correct. And how wrong this can sometimes be. I can see why this won the Pulitzer.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

A lot of Edith Wharton here:
-The House of Mirth - the cruel lot of women
-Age of Innocence - traditions grinding people down beneath them
-Ethan Frome - the desperation and despair of love

A tad bit of
-The Magnificent Ambersons
-The Forsyte Saga
i.e. Tales of family fortunes that disintegrate, the crumbling of great families over generations and time... Or is it just change, not crumbling?
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book centering on a wealthy family in the 1920's. It delves into the themes of love, marriage, hypocrisy and honor. The heroine of the story is approaching her fortieth birthday and unhappiness in her life sparks a type of mid-life crisis. I found the characters believable considering the setting. They mores discussed are somewhat dated but still manage to deliver messages that are relevant. ...more
Meg Ulmes
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading an older author like Bromfield has made me appreciate that many of today's authors lack depth and literary skill in their writing. This novel is both a sad story and a satire. The characters are all finely drawn real people who live in a world that any of us might inhabit. I highly recommend this book if you would like to read some high quality fiction. ...more
Jeanine Malarsky
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-literary
I loved this book. It captures a time gone by with strong characters and a great story. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927. Louis Bromfield was in my American Literature text book in the 1950s. He died in 1956. Too many people today have not heard of him but some recognize movies based on his books, Mrs. Parkington and The Rains Came.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Story of the Pentland family in New England. They are an old moneyed family full of tradition, honor and all the snobbishness that comes with that. An inside look at all the hypocrisy and unhappiness that lies behind the façade of strength and history. Olivia works to free her daughter from a similar fate as she struggles with obligation versus the opportunity for happiness.
Mar 10, 2021 rated it did not like it
If I could, I would have given 0 to this book.
I don't remember ever reading, in all my life, a less interesting story, more flatter characters and in general a more boring and useless novel than this one.
One of the few times I've been tempted to leave the book unfinished; but I finished it, hoping it would get better, and even in the end I only could say: I wasted my money.
Jun 11, 2021 rated it liked it
I thought this was going to be terribly boring after reading the first chapter, but events really picked up as I continued reading. The only thing I did not like was the ending. While it was probably quite accurate for the time, it was frustrating to see the main character end up pretty much exactly where she started at the beginning of the novel.
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Louis Bromfield was an American author and conservationist who gained international recognition winning the Pulitzer Prize and pioneering innovative scientific farming concepts.

Bromfield studied agriculture at Cornell University from 1914 to 1916,[1] but transferred to Columbia University to study journalism. While at Columbia University, Louis Bromfield was initiated into the fraternal organizati

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19 likes · 3 comments
“He had a feeling that somewhere in the course of her life something had happened to her, something terrible which in the end had given her a great understanding and clarity of mind. He knew, too, almost at once, on the day she had driven up to the door of the cottage, that she had made a discovery about life which he himself had made long since . . . that there is nothing of such force as the power of a person content merely to be himself, nothing so invincible as the power of simple honesty, nothing so successful as the life of one who runs alone. Somewhere she had learned all this. She was like a woman to whom nothing could ever again happen.” 14 likes
“I was brought up to look upon falling in love as something natural...something that was pleasant and natural and amusing. I've been in love before, casually, the way young Frenchmen are...but in earnest, too, because a Frenchman can't help surrounding a thing like that with sentiment and romance. He can't help it. If it were just...just something shameful and nasty, he couldn't endure it. They don't have affairs in cold blood the way I've heard men talk about such things since I've come here. It makes a difference, Mrs. Pentland, if you look at things in the light they do. I've learned now, and it is a thing which needs learning, the most important thing in all life. The French are right about it. They make a fine, wonderful thing of love.” 3 likes
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