There is Always Love could have been named “There is Always Adventure” or “There is Always Another Choice.”
Linda Bourne is fed up with her mother’s favoritism for her sister and the “bed of nettles” at her job. Her best friend, Ruth, is tired of her old-fashioned life in their backwater town. The two women set themselves up in a swanky, New York apartment to find “New friends. New surroundings. New problems, harder ones perhaps, but new.”
“There is only one common-sense move when you don’t like your life. Do something about it. Get out. Go somewhere. Follow a rainbow. Who knows, you may find the legendary pot of gold at the end of it.” There is Always Love
New York is the perfect antidote to small-town living, and for Emilie, it was the perfect antidote to the shut-in life of an author. There is Always Love was her nineteenth novel, and, by then, her pattern was pretty well set: Begin a new book in the fall, finish it by May, vacation in Maine, and return to Boston to begin the next story.
She loved Boston, loved Maine, appreciated writing on the quiet, fifth floor of Boston’s Athenaeum, but enough is enough. It was time to get out and DO things! New York was her choice.
Whichever way one turned in this miraculous city one saw something stimulating, exciting, inspiring. There is Always Love
Emilie’s friend Beth Kerley’s apartment was on East 81st Street, less than a block from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There was light enough to see the swaying trees in the Park below. Beyond the Park tall towers pierced by tier upon tier of lighted windows drew an irregular line against a sweep of star-sprinkled sky… “I never tire of our view at night, Ruth. It’s blazingly, unbelievably beautiful. It twinkles and sparkles and glows like a fabulous city.”
There is Always Love
The events she describes at the beginning of Chapter XVII were real. November’s “parade of horses” was the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. The Philharmonic’s performance of Debussy’s Berceuse Héroïque on Armistice Day really happened. Emilie described it as “a mournful commentary on wars and their consequences.” “Solemnly impressive,” said the New York Times.
The Fair in this book–including the Brazilian exhibit and World of Tomorrow–is New York’s 1939-40 World’s Fair. Exhibits included an “electric stairway” (escalator), a robot, nylon fabric, and the first View-Master. NBC began regular television broadcasting at the Fair and displayed televisions in transparent cases to prove they weren’t just tricks.
And then came Christmas in New York!
December had filled the shops with red-bowed holly wreaths, glistening trees, multicolored lights, and shining balls. Christmas was but two weeks ahead.
There were packages already tied and labeled for the post, others swathed in gay wrappings; there were books and handkerchiefs, bags and scarfs on a table awaiting their turn.
There Is Always Love
Ninety-thousand Christmas trees arrived at the railroad yards, and Mayor LaGuardia dedicated a 60-footer at City Hall. Women in furs and men in topcoats road carriages through Central Park and attended plays on Broadway. I imagine Emilie at Rodgers & Hart’s “Too Many Girls” and “Very Warm for May” by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein.
From experience, Emilie appreciated the change that transplanting oneself can bring, and Linda Bourne feels that way about her move to New York.
The experience was doing a lot for her. She felt a growing confidence and courage. It was as if her blood flowed more warmly and redly through her veins and gave a rosy cast to life. She met people more easily and by their response knew that she gave out something of the glow within her and–she glanced at herself in the mirror–she was acquiring that intangible patina which, for want of a better word, is called style.
This is a satisfying thing about Emilie Loring. She cares about her heroines, makes sure they are steady themselves–confident, poised, and self-directed–before they fall in love.
Was there someone in the city who was even now moving toward her? Someone to whom she would say one day, “I knew you were coming. I waited for you”? Perhaps he would come from one of those buildings which loomed tall and great against the skyline.
But of course, he doesn’t. Greg Merton is a New Yorker, but he met “Lindy” back in her own home town. He is the man her mother wants her sister Hester to marry.
He is also competing with Linda’s boss to sell the fabulous estate of Madame Steele. Emilie describes the “Castle” in such detail that it must be a real place. We’ll look for it in another post.
It was lacy with wrought-iron balconies, a house too great and splendid to have been conceived by human brains and built by human hands…
Madame Steele is like many of us who read Emilie Loring’s books over and over again:
“I liked the story very much indeed. The author has written to entertain, not to educate. That’s what I want when I pick up a novel in the middle of a sleepless night.”
There were a lot of sleepless nights that winter of 1939. Russia attacked Finland as Germany overran Poland and prepared to invade the rest of Europe. First bombs fell in Scotland, Canadian troops arrived in Britain, and Indian troops reinforced France. The United States remained officially neutral, but no one who had lived through World War I underestimated the gravity of world events.
At seventy-three, Emilie Loring believed, more than ever, in the importance of love and love stories when the world went awry.
“They are based on an invincible truth. The world may be convulsed with war and hate; the earth may tremble from the onward march of army tanks and heavy guns; our economic cauldron may boil violently; empires may rise and fall, yet there is always love. Love between husband and wife, between parent and child, between friends, between boy and girl, love for the Church. There’s been such a lot said about the modern angle for the writing of the so-called love interest that I’ve been doing a little research. I can’t see that the expression of a lover’s eyes, or the caressing inflection of his voice, is an iota more casual than when I was young. The way of depicting it in print may have changed, but the way of a man with a maid hasn’t.” There is Always Love
With all that can go wrong between people and nations, there is always another choice. There is always love.