Sheila's Reviews > The Inheritance of Beauty

The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole A. Seitz
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: cultural, current_issues, mystery, relationships

Maggie and George are living out their declining years in the peace of Harmony House, ably cared for by the wonderful Annie who is quite sure, despite Maggie’s seeming distance, that the silent woman in the wheelchair is “still there.” George just wishes his wife would sometimes recognize him. And the stranger, Joe, who arrives one summer, seems to have no wishes at all.

Nicole Seitz portrays these characters wonderfully in her novel, The Inheritance of Beauty. Beautiful Maggie slips seamlessly from present to past while George struggles with memories brought to light by a curious photograph. Treading round the tragedy that Maggie silently embodies, George faces his own curtailed future with a sudden urgent desire to revisit old haunts. But how do two, or even three elderly inmates get from here to there.

As the threads come together, the reader knows as surely as the characters that there’s something more to be told. The author pulls us in with beautiful prose, haunting depictions of past and present world, of childhood and old age, and of the different lives of white and black people in South Carolina. A swimming hole’s reflections will finally reveal the truth, and George will find both his past and his future there.

Beauty is not just the image of Maggie in her youth. Beauty is the shape of a world coming to rights. It’s the freedom of past and present in harmony. It’s an inheritance too long denied, waiting to bless the protagonists and set them free. The Inheritance of Beauty is a wonderful novel that portrays the inner thoughts of old and young with equal skill and honesty, building vibrant characters and truths perfectly grounded in time and place.



Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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