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Early Autumn

Louis Bromfield


The Pentlands are a very conservative, old money family in a small town near Boston, who claim ancestry going back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the fall of an unspecified year in the 1920’s, their world is invaded by several “outsiders,” including Sybil, the patriarch’s granddaughter back from a Paris education, Sabine, a prodigal niece who has returned after being gone for twenty years, together with her daughter Thérèse, and O’Hare, an Irish Catholic politician who is at odds with the deeply ingrained Protestant background of the community.

As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly clear to Olivia, Sybil’s mother, that all is not well in the Pentlands’ world; beneath the apparent calm there are secrets bubbling to the surface that have been hidden for years. It also becomes clear that with the changes taking place in the world at large and in their world in particular, the future of the Pentland family could be in peril.

Before Louis Bromfield became a well-known agriculturist, he was a writer of several successful novels. This family study, which is said to be based on his wife’s Puritan upbringing, won him a Pulitzer.

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