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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The author of the critically acclaimed historical novel The Danish Girl offers another richly multilayered, well-researched tale in Pasadena. Sweeping across the first half of the 20th century, David Ebershoff's epic chronicles the transition of Pasadena from border town to thriving city with engaging prose and a skillfully explored narrative.
The story begins just after World War I and follows the life of Linda Stamp, born on the California coast to a family of proud onion farmers. When her father returns from the war with the handsome but enigmatic Bruder -- who has inherited a nearby ranch, Condor's Nest, through a battlefield oath from a dying soldier -- Linda's notions for a life beyond her small town become reality. She falls in love with Bruder and accompanies him to the orange fields of Condor's Nest, where the lovers lead a passionate but friction-filled existence that eventually drives Linda away. Returning to Condor's Nest after several years, she becomes involved with Willis Poore, the man who originally gave the ranch to Bruder. Having recovered from his wounds, Poore challenges Bruder's claim to Condor's Nest, and a dispute ensues, one that gives rise to the possibility of murderous schemes. Divided by her earlier love for Bruder and the promise of status that Poore offers, Linda realizes the consequences of her choice might well affect much of America's future.
Audacious and complex, Pasadena is an urbane urban history -- one that weaves a beautiful love story, a gripping family saga, and the devious world of economic development into a book that feels as vibrant as a city. Ebershoff once again demonstrates the imaginative reach and intricacy that made The Danish Girl such a success. (Tom Piccirilli)