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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Edith Wharton? Better?, 13 May 2004
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Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
This book certainly puts one in mind of Edith Wharton at her finest and equals it for emotional punch and power. The question 'Is Love Enough' and does it justify everything is at the heart of this book. Ruth, who is young and thoughtless falls deeply in love with a married man and eventually they run off together. It never crosses her mind that her actions will have such an effect in the town where she lived until she returns some ten years later and founds herself shunned and ignored by her family and friends. She gradually comes to realise how much her family have suffered through her behaviour and this realisation forms the heartbreaking centre of the book. The book ends on an optimistic note. Ruth, despite everything, and despite the hardships and the unhappiness she has suffered, is optimistic that life holds great things for her and she is determined to live life to the full. I cannot recommend this book too highly. Superbly written and constructed it will take hold of you and your emotions and you will not be able to put it down. You may cry - I did. Edith Wharton is a great writer and has numerous books in print - Susan Glaspell is her equal but seems to have vanished and thanks should go to Persephone for publishing ths book and making it available once again. They have also re-printed Brook Evans by the same author but that is another story.......
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All for love?, 20 Feb 2001
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Lynette Baines (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
Fidelity is a novel which can be favourably compared with Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome and Summer. It has the same intensity, the same questioning of moral attitudes, but I think it's even more impressive. Fidelity is the story (told in flashback) of Ruth Holland, who outraged family and friends in small-town Iowa when she ran away with a married man more than ten years before. The novel's dramatic opening pages plunge the reader straight in to the story- once begun, it's unputdownable. The central question of the novel is Is love enough? Ruth followed her heart, and felt her integrity was intact, but if she had the same decisions to make again, would she make the same choices? Ruth's actions affected almost everyone in the town, her family, her childhood friends, and the young man who loved her. Her return after years away is the catalyst for the revealing of secrets and maybe some answers. Susan Glaspell's narrative is compelling. The use of flashback is beautifully handled. It's hard to believe it was ever allowed to go out of print. Thank-you Persephone for rescuing this great book from oblivion!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Fidelity', 9 Sep 2008
This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
One is instantly reminded of Edith Wharton's 'Age of Innocence' when reading 'Fidelity'. However, in many ways Glaspell's novel can be regarded to be more concise in its phraseology and structure. Rather than progressively unfolding a complex story involving several characters, we are introduced immediately to the central ideas of the novel and are invited to consider the controversial behaviour of Glaspell's female protagonist, Ruth Holland. Born into a hugely conservative society of regimented ideals, Ruth, and, subsequently, the author's other principal characters, must choose between the values of her community and her innate need to be faithful to herself. As the novel develops, it becomes all too clear that the principles of the hierarchical social sphere into which Ruth has been immersed are questionable and too often result in personal sacrifice. However, just as Wharton emphasises the respectable nature of anyone's maintaining a set of values, Glaspell recognises the capacity for benevolence in her initially disagreeable characters. Thus, in the final stages of 'Fidelity', we are left to decide for ourselves which character and which mentality we can truly sympathise with. This is a gripping, affecting and enlightening read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the name of love, 25 Sep 2005
This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
A brilliant story from an early 20th century American author that insightfully probes into the question of 'true' love. One becomes unexpectedly sympathetic to the central character; a young woman who has an affair with a married man. Although written nearly a century ago, the characters' emotions and inner feelings remain highly relevant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, 19 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
This book was a revelation to me and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Although the standards of behaviour and conformity are so different now, I still found it difficult to believe that the book was first published in 1915. I kept thinking of Middlemarch and am not entirely sure why - perhaps because of the flawed nobility of the central character and society's reaction to a mesalliance whether financial, social or morale. The characters and plight of Deane and Ruth are incredibly moving and the ending realistic (however much one hoped for a different way out). I could not stop thinking of the book for a long time after finishing it, and this has not happened for a long time.

How many other neglected Classics are out there I wonder?
Elaine Elliot
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Fidelity
Fidelity by Susan Glaspell (Paperback - 22 Jun 1999)
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