I read Robert Goolrick’s The Reliable Wife several years ago and found his writing both beautiful and enthralling. The Dying of the Light has that same lovely prose and is filled with drama.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 over-the-top, dramatic stars to The Dying of the Light! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
The Dying of the Light’s prologue is exceptionally lurid with a strong southern gothic feel. An unnamed narrator has arrived by boat to explore the remains of a large house burned to the ground in the early 1900s. This house was not only grand in its day; when it was built, it was the largest house in the United States.
Constructed in the 1700s by the hands of slaves, the stately Saratoga costs a pretty penny to keep in order, and Diana Page Powell Cooke is forced to be a debutante to find a wealthy husband who can save her house. Otherwise, it has become too costly to maintain, as the farm land is barren due to overuse, and the family money has been squandered.
Diana meets Captain Copperton, and while he is not old money and is rather mysterious, he is wealthy and quickly becomes her savior, until she discovers he is also a cruel brute. Diana has a son, Ashton, with Copperton, and he is the center of her world. Years later, scandal erupts once again at Saratoga when Ashton returns from college with his roommate.
The Dying of the Light is described in the synopsis as dramatic, even melodramatic, and it most definitely is. Just as the grandeur of Saratoga is over-the-top, so are some of the happenings within those walls, including some steamy dalliances.
Overall, The Dying of the Light is Diana’s coming-of-age with a stunning gothic backdrop. She has been trapped under the watchful eye of generations of her family and is now seen as the sole provider and perhaps sole survivor. Will darkness and tragedy always follow this family, and is Diana the one true survivor?
Thank you to Harper for the complimentary copy. The Dying of the Light is available now!
From the author of the bestselling A Reliable Wife comes a dramatic, passionate tale of a glamorous Southern debutante who marries for money and ultimately suffers for love—a southern gothic as written by Dominick Dunne.
It begins with a house and ends in ashes . . .
Diana Cooke was “born with the century” and came of age just after World War I. The daughter of Virginia gentry, she knew early that her parents had only one asset, besides her famous beauty: their stately house, Saratoga, the largest in the commonwealth, which has hosted the crème of society and Hollywood royalty. Though they are land-rich, the Cookes do not have the means to sustain the estate. Without a wealthy husband, Diana will lose the mansion that has been the heart and soul of her family for five generations.
The mysterious Captain Copperton is an outsider with no bloodline but plenty of cash. Seeing the ravishing nineteen-year-old Diana for the first time, he’s determined to have her. Diana knows that marrying him would make the Cookes solvent and ensure that Saratoga will always be theirs. Yet Copperton is cruel as well as vulgar; while she admires his money, she cannot abide him. Carrying the weight of Saratoga and generations of Cookes on her shoulders, she ultimately succumbs to duty, sacrificing everything, including love.
Luckily for Diana, fate intervenes. Her union with Copperton is brief and gives her a son she adores. But when her handsome, charming Ashton, now grown, returns to Saratoga with his college roommate, the real scandal and tragedy begins.
Reveling in the secrets, mores, and society of twentieth-century genteel Southern life, The Dying of the Light is a romance, a melodrama, and a cautionary tale told with the grandeur and sweep of an epic Hollywood classic.