A group of progressive 19th century thinkers live and work together in a utopian community called Blithedale. The story centers on Miles Coverdale, who arrives at the commune/utopian society of Blithedale. Everyone works together to provide for themselves, a contrast from life in cities -- it is intended to be a return back to the way society used to be. The community is a diverse group of progressive thinkers who chose to live a life outside of societal norms. On the first night, a frail young girl is brought in and rescued from apparent illness. She develops a strong attachment to Zenobia, a mysterious and appealing woman. Coverdale develops an illness and becomes good friends with a man named Hollingsworth, who cares for him while he is sick. However, tension soon arises between the two when they disagree on philosophical matters, and, to a lesser extent, when he begins to grow closer to Zenobia. Later on, they get into an argument that leads Coverdale and Hollingsworth to have a falling out, and for the former to leave Blithedale. While outside of Blithedale, he meets Zenobia's father, who turns out to also be Priscilla's father -- their immediate connection, then, is because they are half-sisters. Eventually, Coverdale returns to Blithedale, where Hollingsworth has left Zenobia for Priscilla. Depressed and heartbroken, Zenobia commits suicide. Blithedale as a community is eventually disbanded, and Coverdale reveals at the very end of the novel that he was in love with Priscilla the entire time.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I felt that this story was structured oddly, and didn't like that the "romance" was kept secret until the end. I felt that this information would have given a lot more context to the story that was sorely lacking -- I, as the reader, didn't know why Coverdale was introducing certain ideas at given times, and it ultimately made scenes that would have felt subtly contextual rambling and boring.
Best scene in story:
The description in general is beautiful throughout the story -- you do get a sense of where they are and what it looks like. I remember several scenes where Zenobia and Priscilla are out in the sunshine, putting flowers in their hair, and Coverdale commenting on how beautiful the scene was. I was able to visualize this very well based on the description.
Opinion about the main character:
Again, I felt that a lot of information that would have been helpful in understanding Coverdale's character was restricted by the fact that we didn't know who he was in love with. This made him seem to ramble at times, and make his perspective seem unclear.