Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Landry Park"

Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up reading Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur, and went on to become a librarian.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Landry Park, her debut novel, and reported the following:
From Page 69:
Underneath the good looks and the glamour, there was a changeling; a boy by turns serious and bitter and playful. From outside the musty world of the maze, the ringing of the university bell disturbed the ivy-covered ghosts of war. “It’s four o’clock,” I said, looking away from him. “Tea will be over.”

“Yes,” David answered absently, still looking around the room. “Yes.”

We quietly wound our way back through the maze until we reached the door. I pulled it shut and turned to find David standing just behind me. Away from the freshly cut grass, the smell of him was overpowering. “I enjoyed this afternoon. Believe it or not, my days are usually tediously empty.”

We were barely a body’s width apart.

“Given what I have seen on the wall screens since your arrival, I thought you spent most of your time partying or kissing debutantes.”

David moved away with a quick laugh. “A bachelor must keep up appearances.”

We were on the lawn now, with the sun streaming down and the soothing hum of the gardeners trimming the grass. The university bell rung again, but I felt reluctant to move closer to the house. “Mother will be wondering where I am,” I said, stalling.

“Let’s not keep her waiting then.” To my surprise, David seized my hand and started running, pulling me along behind him. I could feel my curls pulling loose from the comb that kept them back.
Page 69 is very representative of Landry Park on the whole. Landry Park is the story of Madeline Landry, the heir to a massive estate and to a long legacy of hidden power and privilege. Her world is fueled by nuclear energy, and it is a disgraced caste that is shackled with the work of handling the nuclear waste that makes a comfortable life like Madeline's possible. One of the biggest impetuses for Madeline evaluating her worldview is the arrival of David Dana in her city. At first glance, he seems the prototypical wealthy playboy, but he knows more than he's letting on...

What I love about this page is that it plunges right into the push and pull of Madeline and David's romance. We have Madeline, who is reserved but proud, and David, who is charming but mercurial, and when they are together, the air between them is charged with challenge. They bring out both the best and the worst in each other, which is a catalyst for many of the events later on in the book. It also gives you a sense of the atmosphere: the wide lawn, the clanging bells, the maze...this page evokes the sort of restrained luxury that permeates the entire world of Landry Park.
Visit Bethany Hagen's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue