Cascade: A Novel
by Maryanne O'Hara
Paperback- $11.80

A locked box and a deathbed promise. A town threatened with extinction by flooding.
And a raft of difficult personal decisions.

It's 1935 ...

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  "I Joined Bookmovement to tout this book! I persuaded my club to read it for October" by KateEi (see profile) 08/29/12

At first glance, it's easy to mistake Maryanne O'Hara's compelling debut novel for a sort of woman's romantic novel, given the beauty of the cover, but it isn't at all. Inside that cover lies a great read for anyone, male or female, who loves a smart story. Set in 1930s Massachusetts, "Cascade" is about big change, ambition, mystery, hope, mortality, tradition, a wrong marriage, the possibility of passion, and the cost of pursuing what most matters. This is a dramatic, suspenseful, beautifully written and wise novel that highlights the timelessness of our questions and struggles as people. Read it, pass it around, give it to everyone on your gift list. Wonderful.

 
  "Cascade" by nikkiandgary (see profile) 10/24/12

The book reminded me very much of a river. At first it's wide open and gently moving. Maryanne does a wonderful job of describing Dez's simple life in the town of Cascade. But then, just as a river will narrow and change it's direction because of the twist and turns in the land scape, and move faster as it crashes over boulders and rocks in it's path, so does the book. As Dez's life picks up speed, she is confronted by obstacles that can alter the direction of her life. The book will leave you wondering of what could have been if a different "twist" in the river was taken.

 
  "Cascade: A Novel by Maryanne O'Hara" by kclausen (see profile) 10/24/12

Our book club has read and discussed CASCADE by Maryanne O'Hara. It is a sparkling gem that goes beyond typical fiction. It is extremely well written with profound multiple themes consisting of history, art, women's issues, literature, and Americana. We highly recommend the book. The story is brilliant. The characters and their relationships are realistic, meaningful and timeless. The 1930's historical setting is in our own backyard of Central Massachusetts and yet relevant with the human struggles of life today.

 
  "Cascade" by wfineart5 (see profile) 11/14/12

An intensely moving book about timeless women's issues with a deeply sympathetic female protagonist.
Illustrates the challenges of balancing drive and ambition with the expectations of society.

 
  "Cascade just drew me in" by RFritz (see profile) 11/16/12

I felt like I knew these characters and worried about them. I didn't want to put the book down so that I would know what would happen next. It was beautifully written so that you could visualize the community. Our club was honored to have Ms O'Hara skype in to our book club. It made our discussion so much richer. She was just a delightful person. I can't wait for her next book.

 
  "An apt title." by josapgee (see profile) 11/17/12

Maryann O'Hara's Cascade is a very interesting, thought provoking novel. The storyline moves along seamlessly despite the tensions that exist throughout the novel. The historical references were very informative, giving an insight to life in small towns and the decisions the towns and individuals had to make, faced with lifechanging circumstances.

Maryann graciously joined us by Skype during our book club discussion and time flew by so quickly, because we had a very lively conversation covering various topics including her inspiration for Cascade and her career.

I highly recommend Cascade.

 
  "Too Much Rumination" by ebach (see profile) 01/07/13

This book would be perfect for the reader who likes well-written romances that are far and away better than most books called romances. CASCADE has a story that does not depend on descriptions of sexual gymnastics. Still, I wanted again and again to skip through paragraphs and pages. A couple times I even considered giving up on the book entirely. That is because O\\\\\\\'Hara makes the common mistake of what I call \\\\\\\"too much rumination.\\\\\\\" The main character, Dez (Desdemona Hart), thinks, at length, too much. If the purpose of a novel is to capture and hold a reader\\\\\\\'s attention, to entertain them, CASCADE wanders from that intention too often with excessive narration. I believe that is the reason one reviewer said she could not finish this book. She thinks the reason is Dez. She thinks that Dez is too unlikeable to care about. But who says a reader has to like a main character for a book to be a success? Granted, Dez is detestable. She marries a good-looking successful pharmacist, Asa, just so she and her father have a home. At her every mean and selfish act, Asa forgives, even goes out of his way to be kind. How could she not love someone like that? Instead, she chases after another man, one she continues to love for years and years.

 
  "Mesmerizing" by Silver's Reviews (see profile) 02/03/13

Cascade....a depression town that lost its playhouse. A playhouse that was a wedding gift to Asa by his father-in-law, William Hart, when he married his daughter Dez. Dez, who married not for love, but because she had no place to live and no money so she settled for Asa.

Dez didn't realize that marrying Asa was a mistake until she wanted to be with another man and wanted to pursue her art career. Dez and Jacob had more in common than she and her husband did...Jacob was an artist and Asa was a pharmacist who didn't have the same passions or want the same things out of life that Dez did.

Asa and Dez were the main characters and had the main role in what was hanging over the heads of every citizen of Cascade. The citizens didn't know whether their town was going to be turned into a reservoir for Boston or if the town would be brought back to life by the re-opening of the playhouse that would bring people back to the town and that would fulfill William Hart's dreams. The playhouse was what held the town together and was one of the major themes in CASCADE.

The book was a perfectly modeled description of this era, and the characters were authentic for the time period. The depression-era wives were portrayed as wives that cooked, ironed, and were there when their husbands arrived home at night after work. The town with its pharmacy and snack bar was perfectly represented as you picture the counter, the food, and the customers as you know they were at that time....very enjoyable.

Each character had special qualities that kept your interest. Dez was a very likable character, but one that needed to be more realistic and to realize she was in the best place she could be socially and marriage wise, but she thankfully didn't see that and had other dreams. Asa was a bit unlikeable because of his aloofness to his wife and other characters. Jacob was representated as loveable, but one that caused heartache to Dez her entire life.

Ms.O'Hara's descriptions of the simplest things such as window blinds, building facades, landscapes, and even wooden floors were skillfully carried out. Her descriptions of facial features and feelings were vividly pictured. The reader definitely will become a part of each character, the town's problem, and specifically the fragility of Asa and Dez's relationship....it seemed as though the story was purposely "painted" dramatically and theatrically for the reader along with a well-thought out, "flowing "plot.

You as a reader also undeniably cannot ignore the gorgeous cover that brings together the two most poignant features of the book....the river and Dez who mesmerize and represent the basis of the book. The author explained the cover's meaning to me as this: "The Penguin Art Department created the cover... the idea being that the cascading waterfall is a metaphor for all the turmoil going on in her head, as well as being a beautiful 'piece of art.' "

CASCADE is a beautiful book that will definitely make you think and will remain with you long after you turn the last page. It is a book about life's choices and decisions. Don't let the slow start keep you from continuing. The entire book is as spectacular as its cover. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
  "Cascade" by ADMINOFFICER (see profile) 04/12/13

Wonderful book. I know the area the book is based on so I HAD to read it. I was not dissapointed.

 
  "Engrossing plot and beautiful writing" by wordcritter (see profile) 05/11/13

Cascade is written beautifully. But it is also one of the most addictive books I have read all year. Perfect combo of page turning story and well-crafted writing. I love when I find that! The story sucks you in, but so does the language and the tone of the book. I lost myself in the 1930\\\'s world...a time I have always loved, and which the is perfectly recreated here.

I found ways to relate and not relate to all of the characters, and that is one of the reasons I was kept interested. There are a lot of difficult choices made in this book. As human beings we often think of ourselves as making truly difficult choices all the time - but do we ? Often what we want to do, or what is right, is actually pretty easy to distinguish once we clear the cobwebs. But sometimes we are faced with truly difficult choices that have no real right answer, and then what do you do? And once you do it, how do you live after that? O\\\'Hara addresses this perfectly.

 
  "Unexpected consequences of life choices" by clsnewhall (see profile) 06/24/13

This is a beautifully written book about the choices made that can work out as expected or not. The descriptions are work pictures as art. The time period before WWII is accurately depicted. There is a theme of loss that runs through the story-loss of loved ones, security, home, and identity. I was not expecting the ending!

 
  "Unforgettable--Exhilarating and Poignant" by Carolino (see profile) 06/29/13

Our club doesn\\\'t often agree on books, which is a good thing. We are 9 very different women. But we all loved this book. It\\\'s not what you might think. Starts deceptively quietly, simply. But the cover quote says it unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, with an ending you won\\\'t see coming. Believe it. Nothing about this book is predictable, probably because it all rings so true. These are real people, real problems, real emotions.

The writing is stunning. I underlined so many beautiful passages and insights. One of our group studied a lot of Shakespeare and she said that the book is full of Shakespeare, which she really enjoyed. (But obviously, if you don\\\'t really have a Shakespearean background, you will still enjoy it, as the rest of us did.)

This was the kind of book, we all agreed, that makes you unable to read another for a few days. This one sticks.

 
  "Brilliant" by Hardingbooks (see profile) 07/21/13

We chose this thinking it might be good, and then were blown away by it. Intelligent read, with a lot going on, and all threads masterfully woven together. Stunning ending.

 
  "" by mrstodd (see profile) 11/08/19

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