By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated May 12, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

In a debut that’s both absorbing and surprisingly sentimental, Charlotte Forbes portrays a hauntingly beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a seamstress who rises over her Mexican townmates when she marries a rich Bostonian. Told from the points of view of her childhood friend, housekeeper, butcher, children, and others, the Good Works of Ayela Linde depicts an aloof woman whose silent power lies in awakening others’ desires to be loved unconditionally, and their simultaneous awareness that such yearning can never be sated. ”Men…didn’t know whether to have her or kill her or both,” Forbes writes of her protagonist. Indeed, the author’s generosity of spirit allows Ayela Linde to remain captivating even when she’s cold.

Advertisement

Comments