• XX Chromosomes

The Widow’s Walk: A Novel by Robert Barclay

The Widow’s Walk17349192
Robert Barclay

His name is Garrett Richmond and he has always wanted to live by the ocean. So when the opportunity to buy and renovate the old house known as Seaside arrived, he leapt at the chance.

And then one night he sees her . . .

Her name is Constance Elizabeth Canfield and she tells him that Seaside has been her home for 170 years. But Constance is no ghost; she claims that she has been somehow magically trapped between this life and the next. Garrett has trouble believing her outlandish story. And yet there is something about Constance that seems from another time.

The focal point of this story is Seaside the house serves as the catalyst of the interaction between Constance and Garrett. Seaside is vividly described, partly due to the fact Garrett is an architect restoring Seaside to its old glory. If you enjoy architecture you’ll find this aspect attractive. The reader becomes familiar with both exterior and interior of the house, you’ll think of it as your second home.

The plot certainly wasn’t original, it’s been repeated a number of times, however, I was curious to see where Barclay would take the narrative and the reader. The deal breaker for me was the unbending feel of the entire plot. Rigid, lifeless, nothing stretching my imagination, extremely flat. The events leading to the ending completely killed the story, it was ridiculous. Admittedly I had high expectations for the actual ending and was dumbfounded.

Constance and Garrett came across as robotic. Absolutely passionless and failed to evoke any tenderness. I found them dull, and quite boring. Both characters did absolutely nothing for me.

There was a clear undertone of misogyny. Constance makes the following comment:

“I much preferred 1840 than today.”

But women have come so far since then,” he said. “Things are very different now, since you were a woman in 1840.”

“Yes,” Constance answered. “In some ways women have come far, and that is a good thing. But in other ways, they have lost much too.”

“Back then, Garrett,” she said, there was an understood gentility about things. I know this will sound contradictory, but despite of lack of rights, men took care of their women. I of course cannot speak for every woman of that time, but in my experience, most women were treated with true respect. Men opened doors for them, bowed to them, and kissed the backs of their hands, and spoke in far more loving and respectful ways than they now do. Forgive me for seeing old fashioned, but it’s as if all of the rights and privileges that women have fought for and won throughout the years have been paid for with a contradictory increase in crassness and crudity. Sometimes, I must admit, I find myself unsure of whether the trade off was a fair one.”

Barclay’s writing was lackluster, predictable, I read words on paper, I felt distant from The Widow’s Walk with no true draw to his story as well as players. Disappointed in the misogynist connotation.

Recommendation: 2/5

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