Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Coach House by Florence Osmund

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Tall, dark, and handsome describe the two men in Marie Marcheti’s young life. Besides being from different ethnic groups, they are worlds apart in character, moral, and ethical strength.

Marie lost her mother when she was a young girl and never knew her father. The only information her mother shared was that her father was tall, dark, and handsome. Marie had no idea until she was in her late twenties that ‘dark’ meant Negro.  Realizing she was a Mulatto in the 1940’s left Marie with mixed feelings of confusion and fear.

Richard was her tall, dark, and handsome husband. In her gut she felt there was a secretive side to him, but she married him anyway, doubts and all. They were in love and enjoyed each other’s company, but things aren’t always what they seem. It didn’t take long for Marie to decide to leave Richard.

Not taking this well, Richard stalks Marie. She desperately tries to find a place to live where he will never find her. But Richard’s secret life involved corruption and it was easy for him to keep tabs on her every move.

Marie ends up in Atchison, Kansas renting a coach house apartment. It’s located behind a beautiful Victorian home where her landlord’s family lives.

Marie is an interior designer and left a good job in Chicago when she left Richard. When she ended up in Kansas, after working a menial job for a year, she was able to thrive once again as an interior designer. She made friends easily and Karen, her new best friend, helped Marie endure her life on the run from Richard in Kansas.

The settings in The Coach House are described beautifully by Florence Osmund. Chicago and its music venues, New York City, and San Francisco, we get to travel and enjoy these cities with Marie.

The character development is Osmund’s strength in The Coach House. Each character becomes alive in chapter after chapter. It’s hard to put down the book because we get so absorbed with each character - whether it’s Marie, Richard, and Karen, or Richard’s cohort doing his dirty work.

The Coach House is a superbly written book, in my opinion. It will leave the reader thinking about relationships, adversity, independence and growth, and prejudices. It’s always nice to finish a good book with something to think about.

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