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Wharton, Edith.
New York : Signet Classic, 2000.
ISBN: 0451527666
Ethan is a tall, well-set up man with light hair and blue eyes, and he farms the Frome land in Starkfield, Massachusetts.  He had dabbled in physics at the Worcester Technical school for a year, but needed to come home to his ailing mother, who couldn't run the farm and the saw-mill alone after his father's accident.  When he came back home, he found his mother changed.  She was no longer the talkative woman she used to be. Instead she spent all her time in silence, listening to the voices she heard in the wind. He had Zenobia Pierce, his cousin and a woman seven years older than he was nurse his mother--although Zenobia was a sickly woman herself.  Ethan was grateful for the care Zenobia gave his mother. She was so efficient, and knew how to keep house as well as care for his mother.  Because she was there, he could go about the business of running the farm.  Zenobia was not a silent woman like his mother had become. Ethan, so quiet himself, liked to hear people around him talking.  Then when his mother died one winter, he dreaded being left alone on the farm, and proposed to Zenobia.  But within a year of their marriage, she developed a sickliness that kept her in bed, and she too became silent.
       Into this household comes Zenobia's young cousin Mattie Silver. Mattie's father and mother had died, and left her without money.  Zenobia had taken her in as her Christian duty, but also to have a hired girl that she wouldn't have to pay.  Mattie, with her dark hair and eyes and her happy nature, lit up the house for Ethan.  Slowly, he found himself falling in love with her under the disapproving eyes of his wife.  He begins to make plans. He and Mattie will run away; he'll become an engineer in a big city, and leave Starkfield behind.  But Zenobia has other plans for Mattie, including turning her out of the farm.  Ethan himself has to drive Mattie to the railway station, and it is during this trip, on a slippery winter road, that he does something to guarantee that he and Mattie will be together forever. (Stacy Charlesbois,  Adult & Young Adult Services Librarian,,  Farmington Community Library, Farmington, Michigan)
SUBJECTS:     Married people --  Fiction
                        Poor -- New England --  Fiction
                        Farm life -- New England --  Fiction
                        New England -- Social life and customs --  Fiction.


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