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The Courtship of Eva Eldridge

By

Worth reading 😎

The editor in me would have quibbled about certain parts, but the reader who loves history just happily glides along.

I chose this book because I enjoy looking into how things are different in another era. I wondered if Eva Eldridge was a celebrity, but discovered that she was a simple girl who initially conformed with the standards set by the times for women – finding a husband and making a home for him – until World War II opened her eyes to other possibilities – being able to earn her own money. She whirled in this irregularity with abandon, until she realised that being married was what she really wanted. By the time of this realisation, she was an old maid and all the boys who were previously enamoured of her had gone on to marry other girls.


This notion of panic and pressure was what made Eva even more vulnerable to treachery. However, aren’t we all usually blinded when someone promises to care for us?


In The Courtship of Eva Eldridge, Diane Simmons creates for the reader a picture of a woman pre-war, in the midst of the hostilities, and post-war. But it’s not just Eva we meet. There was Eva’s mother, Grace, who knew what was best for Eva. There were the other women who fell for the same duplicitous man. We see how it must have been like for women more than half a century prior to the freedoms we presently enjoy.


There were also the men, for whom the pressure of needing to be in control must have been invariably tested by being exposed to the horrors of war. They needed to wrestle back this power when they returned home from the battleground. They needed the women to be willing to be powerless in their presence, no questions asked.


I must admit that the difference between the written tones of the first and second part put me off. I enjoyed the poetic flow of the first part, and was surprised that this book is categorised as True Crime, which explains the tone of Part 2. I would have wanted to follow the story in the same tone as in Part 1.


I did like the topic of this book and think highly of the author's writing style. Anyone who likes learning about what it was like for men and women more than half a century ago will enjoy this book.


Reviewed by

Also a reader/reviewer and a human. My current work lists me as a freelance writer and editor.

About the author

Diane Simmons' short story collection Little America won the Ohio State University prize for Short Fiction. Her novel Dreams Like Thunder won the Oregon Book Award. A recent Fulbright Fellow in the Czech Republic; her essay "Nobody Goes to the Gulag " was published in Missouri Review/LitHub. view profile

Published on September 01, 2016

Published by Universty of Iowa Press

90000 words

Genre: True Crime

Reviewed by