Private Altars

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Berkley Publishing Group, 1996 - Fiction - 384 pages
1 Review
Arriving in Winsville with a firm grasp of the classics, four steamer trunks of books, a bust of Quintilian, and shoes and gloves for different times of day, Vienna Daniels creates a stir in a town uncomfortable with difference. "She's not crazy, she's just educated, " Dr. Barstow pronounces to Vienna's husband, Willard, who is plainly disappointed with the patrician bride he managed to marry. When the marriage fails and Willard abandons her, Vienna and her two children have nothing more than the magic of their own imaginations to parlay an accidental and unenviable situation into one that captivated the town. Private Altars is a compelling story about the nature of consequence - the way in which meaningless acts lead to irreversible situations, and the difficult compromise between the demands of society and the desires of the individual. Trapped in the wrong place and time, Vienna Daniels' attempt to transcend her circumstance unfolds into a haunting and unforgettable story.

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User Review  - turtlesleap - LibraryThing

In the early 1920's, a young woman from New York, well born and intellectually gifted, falls in love with and marries a young man from rural West Virginia. She accompanies him to his family home but ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Although it is heavy-handed and even downright pretentious at times, this debut novel showcases Mosby's measured, literate style. In 1926, Vienna Daniels leaves a privileged life in New York and ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Katherine Mosby, a poet, teaches writing courses at Columbia and New York University, and conducts poetry workshops in New York public schools.

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