Sensitive Portrait of Blossoming Love – between two women. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
It’s easy to see why this book was so explosive when it was first published in 1952, though it seems quite tame reading it now.
Carol is an affluent married mother of a young daughter who has recently separated from her husband. Therese is a young, would-be set designer who works at a department store to pay the rent on her shabby New York City apartment. Their chance encounter sets both on an expected journey (both psychologically and literally) where they explore the nature of love and must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to maintain it. Particularly against intense societal pressure, even ostracism.
The story is told mostly from Therese’s perspective. I deeply appreciated the wonderful descriptions of what goes through the mind of any person falling in love, regardless of gender. The endless internal monologues, the doubts, the intense sensitivity to reading signals from the partner. And how someone slowly comes to know when something that began as infatuation transitions into something deeper.
The book actually becomes quite a suspenseful read with an end that surprised me, since I began to imagine many different ways the novel might end. A very interesting read.
FYI, the author also wrote the novels Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. More about Author Patricia Highsmith.