Monday, August 18, 2014

White Ladies by Francis Brett Young

White Ladies"White Ladies" is primarily a book about obsession, how obsession can consume, blind and control one's life and the lives of one's descendants, snuffing out all but the embers of true happiness and humanity in one's quest for...THINGS. But really it would be naive to limit this quest to THINGS. For the search may encompass status, power, progress, or, in the case of this multi generational saga, a VOCATION.

The story has its start in a clay pit which a father and daughter excavate, making bricks to sell, thereby earning their living.
Enter entrepreneur number one: Bella's husband, Jasper Mortimer. Jasper turns that clay pit into a huge monstrosity of soot and success, enlarging the business to include steel and coal until every living thing (grass, trees, water sources) die in the enterprise envelopes more and more land. Every penny earned is thrust back into the insatiable "beast".

Bella number 2 escapes life at Hayseech by eloping with a sacked employer of her father's business. She of all of them probably had the most sense.

Bella number 3. This Bella was her grandfather Jasper reincarnated, (metaphorically speaking). While she had no use for Hayseech and all its noise and filth (except for the money it brought in), she also became obsessed, consumed, controlled and blinded by her love of something, a house. Not just any house. White Ladies.

Bella first set eyes on 'White Ladies' halfway through the book. Much like Naboth's vineyard, she HAS to have it. The owner doesn't wish to sell but....did I mention? She WILL have it.

Bella's life sap is tied up with 'White Ladies" and as the story progresses there is devastating loss in store for both Bella and her beloved dream. But the foundations of both are strong and while any trace remain of either, there lies a germ of renewal and hope.


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