The Portrait of a Lady

  • Ann leaves Christian Science after discovering the phrase “Chastity is the cement of civilization” in the Science & Health
  • In Italy, she finds her model for a close, lively, nurturing family
  • The Spanish are insular, not welcoming of her presence. In Israel, she is also isolated; “You haven’t been to the mountaintop,” they say.
  • What a surprise! She ends up in Greece, a country she knows little about
  • She’s a woman. It’s time to have a baby. She compromises
Daring to Date Again

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“In America, whole blocks of thinking, Communism for example, were banned. During a summer in Italy, Communists sat at the dinner table, in America they sat in jail. I had no affinity for Communism, but wondered where my mind would go once it was allowed to think freely.”

“History celebrates women taking off their bras, but Joan chucking her girdle was more iconoclastic.”

“The vision of the Salas’ love for each other fell into my heart as if it had always been there. I observed not sex, but intimacy, and I had never seen that before. Not ever.”

“Mamma put in front of me a plate with a slice of bright orange cantaloupe weeping its juice with thin slices of ham, called prosciutto, strewn across it. I had never bitten into a melon you could taste down to your toes. My nose filled with its essence, my mouth rejoiced. Buono! Buono!”

“Good Order became more valuable than pleasure, freedom, or justice, and this was how democracy slipped out the back door.”

“The Greek countryside swept into me, its beauty and freshness beyond words. The valleys below were carpeted with the white blossoms of almond trees. At the apex of mountains stood chapels topped by chubby Greek Orthodox crosses like good luck charms. The air had a fresh, herbal smell.”

“I had requested a pregnancy, had gotten it, and was ready to live with it. Ernest’s mercurial nature, which sometimes veered into cruelty, was known to me, but he had provided an interesting life and we shared his professional goal. I would be giving birth to and raising my child in a way that was radical for its day, and he supported me in that. This might work.”


Who Should Read It

  • Square pegs in round holes
  • Women of a certain age who have taken the same sort of journey into the 21st century
  • The MeToo women who are curious why this didn’t happen earlier
  • People interested in feminism, history, and good storytelling
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