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“Evangelina Campbell was an independent creature by nature, and very apt to keep to herself, so when she first laid eyes on Colin Gray at the Brentwood Academy, she paid him little mind. As the educated, Harvard-bound son of a large Vermont farming family, Colin had stepped on a few toes on his way to the ivy-covered walls of the university. Having thrown aside his family’s aspirations for him in favor of his own dreams of higher education, Colin had found that he must learn to rely solely upon himself. When he meets Peter Campbell, the intelligent and striking cousin of Evangelina, he is swept up in the enveloping life of the Bostonian privileged. Meanwhile, while Colin finishes secondary school and cements himself as one of Peter’s closest friends, Evangelina finds herself continuously lost in the shadow of her renowned family and kept busy by her cold, demanding Aunt Katherine, the uncontested matriarch of the family.A year or so later, Evangelina and Colin find themselves reunited within the confines of the Hasborow home, at a party of Evangelina’s oldest friend, Elaine. Forging a close friendship based upon their similar independence, Evangelina and Colin soon become a staple pairing at all the best soirees. Basking in her newfound-popularity, derived, for once, not only from her name, but also from her momentous rebirth into an unforgiving society, Evangelina carries her own influence with grace. However, her strides forward were continuously thwarted by her relatives’ politically-dominated plans. When joined by Peter, though, the young Campbells prove to be formidable opponents to their family’s provincially elitist beliefs.”
“August, 1899 marks the emergence of a young literary voice that bears all the markings of an “old-soul.” Despite its eponymous setting and the distinct influence of the era’s American writers, its appeal lies in its modernity; only through the lens of a young writer of today who has read as widely and closely as Csencsitz could we enjoy the priceless indifference to convention and authority that is the privilege of the pre-working class. Through her engaging story this perspective invites us to see again, and anew, with the craftsmanship of a mature storyteller.”
Cassandra Johnson is a New York-based arts writer