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Spring and Fall    by Nicholas Delbanco order for
Spring and Fall
by Nicholas Delbanco
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Spring and Fall is about Hermia and Lawrence, who fell in love while they were college students, broke up, and then totally lost contact with each other. When they meet again, they're 63 and 64. As sometimes happens in real life, they reconnect at just the right moment for each of them, and enjoy a wonderful shipboard romance before going home to their separate lives once again. But the story doesn't end there.

Flashbacks fill us in on what happened between them the first time around, in the spring of their lives, as well as what their separate lives were like during those 42 years apart. We're led to wonder whether together they might have made fewer mistakes or suffered less than they did apart. When you fall deeply in love with someone at a young age, are you throwing away your one chance for happiness if you leave them? One of the minor characters in the book says she believes you only really fall in love once in your life. We wonder as we continue reading if the author believes this, too.

We watch the present day Lawrence and Hermia struggle to incorporate this new/old relationship into their present lives. The book is interesting and enjoyable, but as I read it, I could never quite trust Lawrence, and I kept wondering why Hermia should. In spite of her wealth and seeming independence, she is a much more vulnerable character emotionally than he is.

That said, the book should make an interesting book club selection, especially for women who are closer to the age of the older Lawrence and Hermia than the younger. I particularly enjoyed reading about people who were my age and comparing their life experiences with my own.

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