☀ You can borrow and read Angle of Repose free below. ☀
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Lyman Ward, a recently divorced, wheelchair-bound, former history professor, moves into Zodiac Cottage, in Grass Valley, California, where his grandmother Susan Burling Ward, a well-known author and illustrator, lived the last decades of her life. He intends to write her biography. Angle of Repose is her story, and the story of Lyman Ward’s writing of her story. Wallace Stegner* used, with permission, excerpts from letters from actual well-known Victorian author and illustrator Mary Hallock Foote.
Angle of Repose: the angle at which a material will stop sliding
Lyman Ward finds that his grandmother Susan Burling was a noted artist in New York high society, but when the man she wanted married her best friend, she married mining engineer Oliver Ward on the rebound, and was soon headed west to a life unlike anything she could have imagined. Lyman Ward was impressed with his grandparents’ marriage and wants to understand it, but he doesn’t discover a lot of happiness there.
Susan didn’t fit in with the western mining communities, but having two children helped her to be happier and make friends. Her husband did not do well in his career, and they were often uprooted to the next “opportunity” — New Almaden and Grass Valley, California; Leadville, Colorado; Idaho; Mexico. Susan’s work as a writer and illustrator was often the only thing that keep the family fed.
When Susan falls in love with her husband’s clerk Frank, Lyman Ward is hit hard by the parallels to his own life, where his wife had fallen in love with the very surgeon who amputated Lyman’s leg. Susan’s love affair leads to devastating tragedy, and she and Oliver Ward separate for two years. But ultimately they return to their marriage and stay married for 60 years.
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.