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The Season of Lillian Dawes

About the Book

The Season of Lillian Dawes

Most of us, at some time in our lives, will encounter someone who fascinates -- even obsesses -- us. We hunger for information about this person, titillated by the mere mention of a name or the glimpse of a face. Such an infatuation can set loose our imagination, so that the object of our affection achieves, in our minds at least, mythic status. We imbue these people with qualities they may not possess. Their presence, even the mere fact of their existence, overpowers us -- whether they know it or not. The Season of Lillian Dawes offers a riveting portrait of a young man in the throes of such an enchantment.

The orphaned son of a wealthy lawyer, Gabriel Gibbs has been entrusted to the care of his older brother Spencer after being kicked out of prep school. In his Greenwich Village apartment Spencer sets out to educate Gabriel in the ways of the world. This education takes the form of late-afternoon soliloquies delivered while Spencer soaks in the tub; private tutoring from Spencer's eccentric friend Beckwith; and aimless afternoons spent in the library, coffee houses, and movie theaters of Manhattan. Thus occupied, Gabriel is ripe for some excitement, and it comes to him in the form of the mysterious Lillian Dawes.

Unlike most of the people Gabriel has met in Manhattan -- people who try to appear worldly, wealthy, and gay, when in fact they are disillusioned, narrow-minded, and bored -- Lillian Dawes stands out like a fresh cut flower. She is enigmatic without being aloof; sounds intelligent without showing off; and acts kindly to those whom others choose to ignore. Lillian carries with her an air of melancholy that touches Gabriel with its world-weariness, even if he doesn't understand why.

It doesn't take long for Gabriel to become bewitched by this unknowable woman. Unfortunately, he isn't the only man drawn to Lillian. Spencer, too, is swept up in her aura and soon he and Lillian are a couple. Together Spencer and Lillian possess enough charm, good humor, and warmth to light up any room. They complete each other. But Lillian and Spencer aren't completely honest with each other, and the secrets they keep are powerful enough to destroy their relationship.

The Season of Lillian Dawes explores how Gabriel's obsession becomes a life lesson about the difference between appearance and reality, about truth and deception, and about the importance of holding onto one's principles no matter what the cost.

Over time, most of us will relinquish our obsessions with the unknowable other: either because of disappointment, or because we move on. For Gabriel, however, Lillian becomes a symbol that resonates throughout his life. Can these symbols endure? Katherine Mosby leaves us wondering, hoping that they can.

The Season of Lillian Dawes
by Katherine Mosby

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2003
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060936959
  • ISBN-13: 9780060936952