Now, Voyager is the third installment in the Vale family saga written by Prouty in the 1930s and 1940s. This book is about Charlotte Vale, the spinster aunt and her incredible transformation.
After a nervous breakdown, Charlotte is sent to Cascade to recover. It is a forward-thinking, psychiatric facility in the early 1940s. Her doctor, Dr. Jaquith, then sends Charlotte on a cruise alone to try out the coping skills she learned. Charlotte has never been anywhere without her domineering mother and so this is an extraordinary new experience for her. At first she is shy and self-depreciating, but then she meets J.D. Durrance and her entire perspective changes about life and especially about love.
I really enjoyed this book. I saw about 3/4 of the movie a while ago and just loved Betty Davis as Charlotte. I love old black and white movies. But the book gave me so much more. I thought Charlotte’s character gained so much strength and self-worth as the story progressed. At first she was resistant because of the way she had been treated all her life, but as she found that she was worthy of love and respect, she really found her footing.
The romance is heart-breaking and beautiful as she falls for Durrance, a married man. This is how a romance should be written. The heroine is enhanced by the hero, but not defined by him or his love. I don’t want to give away too much for those who haven’t seen the movie or read this book. But it is great, great, great!
The settings are so appropriate. The first half of the book is set on the cruise ship and the various beautiful locations near the Mediterranean. It is almost a fairy tale setting that stands in stark contrast to the life Charlotte returns to in the second half of the book.
The ideas of individual freedoms and expression and responsibility are interwoven without seeming preachy. It is interesting to think of these ideas being so radical, especially by today’s standards.
This is such a wonderful romance and I highly recommend it. The movie is great too.
I had a hard time finding this book at the library, but I finally did. It is the most popular of the Vale books. The other books in the series are most likely out of print, but I’m still looking. Now, Voyager hints at the other Vale family members and their various trials. I’m eager to get into their lives as well.