By Gregory Murphy
From the back of the book:
New York City, 1911, William Dysart, born to wealth and married to a society beauty, longs for a life of purpose, but feels trapped by circumstances and by the wishes of his wife and domineering father. Having lost his mother as a boy, he’s repressed all memories of her mysterious death—but feels his work as a lawyer is something that would have pleased her.
Just my opinion:
This really is an enjoyable read. Set at the turn of the 20th century, the author does an excellent job of depicting life during that time period among the newly elite of the upper northeast portion of the country. Relationships were definitely different at that time as people bowed to the wishes of their families and did what they had to in order to remain in the good graces of society.
For the protagonist in Incognito, he does everything to keep his wife and father happy … within reason. However, living that life is beginning to depress him. His wife isn’t happy because she wants more and more to impress their wealthy friends and one way she is determined to do that is to live in a house that is designed for parties and other similar social events. She feels their current home isn’t going to make the type of impact on them as she wants, so she bargains with his father to help them build a house she can be “proud” of.
But for William, he’s quite content where they are and feels they simply cannot afford to live the lifestyle Arabella desires. They are beginning to argue incessantly and he’s questioning his feelings for her -- and if he ever truly loved her.
Entering the picture is a young woman who William meets while working for a client who has plans to turn her Long Island property into a national park. In order to do that, she is determined to expand by getting her hands on the woman’s land, which is right next to hers. But Sybil doesn’t want to sell and tells William as much. She refuses to accept all offers, even with the threat of having her home condemned and taken over by the state. That would mean it could be given to her greedy neighbor.
William is puzzled by the whole scenario and decides to find out the true story of why his client is so set on having the property and why Sybil is refusing to sell. In the meantime, he is finding himself more and more drawn to the young and pretty Sybil. In fact, he’s actually finding himself falling in love with her.
Incognito is a book that captures your attention and it’s not easy to put down. I loved the story itself, as well as the history aspect. Engaging and evocative, it will have a place on my favorite reads of the year.
Some favorite passages from the book:
That’s what life is all about—making and unmaking mistakes, getting back on the track and moving on. The problem with mistakes is that they have the habit of growing into such big, fat, lovely excuses.
I thank God women are too sensible to be blinded by things like physical beauty.
William opened the paper and read:
Unknown and unknowing
I assumed that disguise
till love lifted the veil
and I could see with your eyes