Twenty-five years ago I read a library copy of Mrs. Demming and the Mythical Beast and I have remembered phrases of it through all this time. I have dogeared so many pages for the wonderful descriptive phrasing:
"...in the alleyway where there was always a gathering of sparrows, the cheerful lower class of bird society."
"...an imposing three-story Victorian, heavily adorned with gingerbread, stained glass, and treillage, and towering over the village like a dowager empress over a tea table. High on the slope it sat, looking out over streets and river. From the cupola, Daisy said you could see 1893 and the retreating figure of Grover Cleveland."
Wonderful "paint-by-word pictures" as my friend Lord Wellbourne would say."Turning, I walked away as if I were being played by Bette Davis."
A few weeks ago I spied it in my favorite used bookstore, and scuttled home with it, placing it on my-books-to-read section of the bookshelves. I let it stay there, beaming at me with a warm and friendly anticipatory glow, and I finally cracked it a few days ago. I'm enjoying it more than I did the first time.
For one thing, the protagonist is fifty years old and at this age I can understand her a little more easily and in greater depth than I could at thirty-something. The main appeal, though, is the writing.
I am down to the last few pages; I will finish the book tonight.
And I don't want it to end.