Forced into a marriage of convenience to save her family's estate, blue-blooded Southern belle Diana, coming of age just after World War I, sacrifices everything, including love, to become the wife of a man she cannot abide, until fate intervenes.
...the literary lovechild of William Faulkner and Dominick Dunne ... Reveling in the secrets, mores and society of 20th-century genteel Southern life, The Dying of the Light is a romance, a melodrama and a cautionary tale told with the grandeur and sweep of an epic Hollywood classic.
There will be domestic violence, death on horseback, repressed homosexuality, expressed homosexuality, dreadful poverty, adultery, theft, envy and, above all, enough details about interior decoration to make an Architectural Digest editor scream in ecstasy ... Everyone loves a good soap opera. But watching Goolrick’s real talent and compassion peep through the floorlength drapes of overwriting feels like seeing Dr. Oz behind his curtain ... The theatricality of the truth is more than enough without the added melodrama.
Like his heroine, Mr. Goolrick also yearns to turn back the clock, writing a chivalric melodrama that resembles nothing so much as Gone With the Wind. The elegance of the surfaces and the mad passions that boil underneath are meant both to attract and appall. But for all the author’s earnestness and skill, I think that novels like this are really no longer possible. The fabled grandeur of the Plantation South has been so thoroughly (and correctly) discredited that even its refinements appear grotesque. When the conflagration arrives in Saratoga it seems less a tragic climax than an overdue deliverance.