Monday, September 3, 2012
The Coach House - A Story of Our Parents' time
Accompanied by the music of the forties,
I couldn't help but hum along to each tune.
The Coach House by Florence Osmund is a beautifully written story of the immediate years following WWII. Marie is a young college graduate who has studied Interior Design and is using her skills at Marshall Fields in Chicago during the store's heyday. She is a window dresser, but is soon recognized for her talents and work ethic and is promoted to assistant buyer and ultimately to store manager. Richard is a medical supply salesman who is smitten with Marie's beauty and grace when he sees her working in a window. Romance is a new experience for Marie, and she quickly falls in love with her attentive suitor.
Despite her hesitations, they soon wed, and live the life of a happily married, affluent couple, flying to New York City for shopping and shows. Their differences gradually emerge in their relationship, as Richard is detached from his family, while Marie sorrowfully misses her mother, the only family she had. Richard continually asks Marie to trust him, and all will be well for them. This becomes an increasingly difficult task, as she begins to discover more and more about her husband's working life.
Florence Osmund skillfully interweaves musical interludes throughout her characters' experiences, quoting songs form the post-war era ~ lyrics that so perfectly fit the young couple's thoughts at the moment. Osmund also uses movies of that time to provide insightful dialogue that reveals each of their inner thoughts.
As Marie walks through the city of Chicago, and later through small towns beyond the city, the reader easily strolls alongside, taking in the nostalgic views of small town life in contrast with big city events. The gangsters of the forties, the early civil rights strife and slowly developing societal awareness of such complete the tapestry this author carefully weaves around her characters.
This book is a love story, a chapter in our history, a picture of divergent cultures, and a strong female character's journal. I strongly recommend this book for readers aged 16 and over who want a true look at this time period and all that it encompassed. Five Stars!