About two weeks ago, The Chancellor and I went book hunting at a thrift store–those and used book stores can be the *best* place to find great or out-of-print books for very teacher-friendly prices. While The Chancellor snapped up a bunch of the Redwall series, I found two books in Madeleine L’Engle’s series that take place after the Time quartet (or quintet, if you count An Acceptable Time, which the publishers of the books I own clearly do). That sent me on a Wikipedia hunt to see which of the L’Engle books I have read, and which I still need to read. And that led me to this little gem, unpublished till after Ms. L’Engle’s death: The Joys of Love.
The Joys of Love takes place in a summer in the 1940s, after the war, on an East coast seaside (I think New Jersey?) where a theater company is running. Elizabeth Jerrold is a young hopeful theater actress, but is working as an intern for contact with companies and the stars that coincide with the theater company. She is also trying to navigate her individual identity apart from her stern and rigid Aunt Harriet, the seductive whispers of her maybe-boyfriend Kurt, and the loyal hopefulness of playful Ben. The novel is set in four acts, over a weekend. How it all comes together is a joy indeed.
The language, particularly the vernacular words used, is quaint. But that does not detract from the yearning and idealism of the story itself, especially with its echoes of Ms. L’Engle’s own life as a theater actress before she met her husband and later turned to writing. If you are a fan of Madeleine L’Engle’s work, then you need to pick this book up NOW and read it. It’s tender and delightful in the best possible ways.
And with that, I think this summer may need to end with a re-read of the Time Quartet and a read-through of the other series, too…