Those who are familiar with Thomas Tryon's first two more novels, The Other and Harvest Home might find Lady a little perplexing. Yet it may also be the now deceased author's best and most realized work. While Lady
still has a Gothic setting, taking place in Tryon's mythical New
England town Pequot Landing where the other two books take part, this
novel is not remotely a horror story. It is part mystery and part
coming-of-age story and a very good one at that. The author excels at
creating an eerie and haunting environment while involving the reader
into early 20th century life complete with its town secrets and slowly
emerging scandals. Woody, the narrator, tells of his childhood beginning
at the age of eight focusing on his close friendship with Adelaide
Harleigh who is usually called Lady. The sometimes moody widow is friend
and mentor to Woody but there are still many secrets about her that he
questions; Such as what happened to her husband, why does she switch so
quickly from elegant joviality to brooding solidarity, and who is that
strange red-headed man who shows up now and then. The answer to these
and other questions may seem somewhat lame to today's readers but in the
period this novel takes places (1930s) it was quite shocking. For that
matter, the younger readers may be surprised to know that this was a
fairly shocking ending in 1974, the year Lady was first published. The times have changed.
it is not the ending that stands out. Tyron has written a haunting time machine
of a novel taking us back the the 30s with exquisite detail and a
understanding of the slower snow-globe existence of a small town.
Sensitive characters round-out this novel which is deserving of re-issue
in e-book format by Open Road Media and equally deserving of new discovery by new readers.