|About the Book|
Reading Van Reids first novel, Cordelia Underwood, is a little like moving to a small town where everyone knows everybody else and has for generations. Certainly the novel boasts a cast of if not thousands, at least dozens of characters ranging fromMoreReading Van Reids first novel, Cordelia Underwood, is a little like moving to a small town where everyone knows everybody else and has for generations. Certainly the novel boasts a cast of if not thousands, at least dozens of characters ranging from the spirited title character, Cordelia, to a bear named Maude. The story, such as it is, begins in the year 1896 and involves a mysterious inheritance--a parcel of land in the north of Maine that Cordelias Uncle Basil has left to her. But readers will find themselves less interested in Uncle Basils bequest than in the kaleidoscope of eccentrics who involve themselves in it. The subtitle of Reids novel is The Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League, and it is with the formation of this secret club that much of the novel concerns itself. Every character has a story to tell and each fresh tale seems to spawn another- there are balloon ascensions, phantom sailors, mysterious notes, and determined suitors- fortunately, everyone is so charming and their yarns so entertaining that you dont really mind the many, many digressions from the purported main point of the book, namely Cordelia and her inheritance. Set in the 19th century, Cordelia Underwood exhibits some of that centurys literary conventions, as well--originally published in serial form in a regional newspaper, it is a sprawling tale populated with singular personalities and intended to entertain. In short, its perfect reading for those long, lazy dog days of summer.