Tuesday, May 14, 2013

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara

Synopsis: During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a conflicted new wife seeks to reconcile her artistic ambitions with the binding promises she has made

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

My Thoughts:  If ever there was a book for me this one is it!  Set during the depression era in the quiet town of Cascade we meet Dez Spaulding as she struggles with several important life decisions.  Should she follow her heart or resign herself to the loveless marriage born of the need for financial security?  Should she defy social expectations and follow her dreams of being an artist or sacrifice them in order to preserve the legacy of her father and his beloved Shakespearean Theatre?  There are so many points in this novel where I found myself personally identifying with Dez and her dilemmas over doing what is right for her or doing what she thinks would make everyone around her happy. 

In addition to the internal struggles experienced by Dez, there are the external ones being experience by the town of Cascade which is threatened with extinction in order to provide Boston with a much needed reservoir.  The beginning did start off a little bit slow for me but I loved the voice of the main character enough where it didn’t matter much.  Once it gets going, the story that unfolds will suck you right in.  I also liked the subtle mystery surrounding what was in the casket her father gave her before he died.
It gave me the same feeling as when I read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay only I connected better with Dez than I did with the main character in that story.  What drew me to this book in the first place was the beautiful cover art but the story delivered as well.  Definitely check this out if you are into historical fiction with a bit more depth.

This book was provided to me by the publisher for participation in the author's tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.

Now for the giveaway!  Up for grabs is one paperback copy of Cascade!

Open to: US only

To Enter: Leave your name and email in the comments.  One extra entry each for sharing on Facebook/your blog/Twitter.

Ends: Midnight May 24th.  Winner will be announced and contacted the 25th.

For more reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways with author Maryanne O'Hara you can view the rest of the tour schedule HERE.

View the book trailer:   http://www.maryanneohara.com/cascade-trailer/

Maryanne O'HaraAbout the Author

Maryanne O’Hara was the longtime associate fiction editor at the award-winning literary journal Ploughshares. She received her MFA from Emerson College fifteen years ago, and wrote short fiction that was widely published before committing to the long form. She lives on a river near Boston.
For more information on Maryanne O’Hara, please visit her website

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and GoodReads.


  1. Cascade sounds like a book I want to read. Great review. Palomarkid@hotmail.com Barbara Waite

  2. Great review -- I adored this book! I'd love to enter the giveaway -- I don't own it yet! I'm sharing this on twitter, too!

    unabridgedchick at gmail.com

  3. This novel is captivating and special. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I am very interested in this fascinating book that is profound and meaningful. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Great review; this book sounds so interesting. And, I agree that the cover is striking. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Love the questions you introduce for the reader! And the cover is so unique...definitely not something I've seen before. Thank you for the chance to win!


  7. this sounds so interesting, and i love the cover!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  8. I've been interested in this book since the hardcover came out a few months ago. Thanks for holding a giveaway for the new paperback. I'd love to win a copy. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  9. I also tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/334732966779551744
    Thanks again!

  10. Cascade sounds like a GREAT read!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!
    shared on my FB wall, www.facebook.com/cyn209

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  11. Thank you so much for this thoughtful and appreciative discussion of my book. I'm glad it connected with you, and hope it does for others, as well !
    Maryanne O'Hara

  12. Wonderful review! Thank you for the giveaway. I think I'd love this book!

    MaryKate dot Sullivan711 at gmail dot com

  13. Sounds like a great book. I love the time period this book is set in, and would enjoy reading it. Please enter me. Thanks!


  14. Thanks for your great review. This sounds like a book that I would enjoy. I've added it to my TBR list.