The World Below by Sue Miller


Book description from back of box

Maine, 1919. Georgia Rice, who has cared for her father and two siblings since her mother’s death, is diagnosed, at nineteen, with tuberculosis and sent away to a sanitarium. Freed from the burdens of caretaking, she discovers a nearly lost world of youth and possibility, and meets the doomed young man who will become her lover.

Vermont, the present. On the heels of a divorce, Catherine Hubbard, Georgia’s granddaughter, takes up residence in Georgia’s old house. Sorting through her own affairs, Cath stumbles upon the true story of Georgia’s life and marriage, and of the misunderstanding upon which she built a lasting love.

With the tales of these two women–one a country doctor’s wife with a haunting past, the other a twice-divorced San Francisco schoolteacher casting about at midlife for answers to her future–Miller offers us a novel of astonishing richness and emotional depth. Linked by bitter disappointments, compromise, and powerful grace, the lives of Georgia and Cath begin to seem remarkably similar, despite their distinctly different times: two young girls, generations apart, motherless at nearly the same age, thrust into early adulthood, struggling with confusing bonds of attachment and guilt; both of them in marriages that are not what they seem, forced to make choices that call into question the very nature of intimacy, faithfulness, betrayal, and love. Marvelously written, expertly told, The World Below captures the shadowy half-truths of the visible world, and the beauty and sorrow submerged beneath the surfaces of our lives–the lost world of the past, our lost hopes for the future.

This was my 3rd audio book. I still have a cassette player in my car, no CD or MP3 player. I know I am living in the stone ages! So I pick up these audio cassette books for .50 at book sales. Usually books I might not pick up to read in book form but it’s nice to listen in the car around town. I am so glad I got this one! It is set in Maine one of my favorite places of all, that’s why I grabbed it. Judith Ivey is the narrator and she is perfect for this story! She got the Maine accent perfect and she just is Georgia and Cath! 

I loved this story! I found myself sitting in the car in the driveway long after I got home, immersed in the story. I fell in love with Georgia and was so touched by her story and thrilled with her wonderful strong marriage. I liked the wonder of the granddaughter finding her grandmother’s diary after so many years and the seeing the story unfold in two different era’s. I also liked Cath and wanted her to find happiness in herself. 

It was interesting delving into the life at The San, as Georgia called it. What a scary thing to have this disease at a time when there wasn’t much medical knowledge or options available. How the archaic ‘taboos’ of the times affected everything they did and how they thought, even about themselves.

It was good! I have never read a Sue Miller novel before, but I will surely be on the look out for more! Well written and grand characters.

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