From the author of the bestselling A Reliable Wife comes a dramatic, passionate tale of a glamorous Southern debutante who marries for money and ultimately suffers for love—a southern gothic as written by Dominick Dunne.
It begins with a house and ends in ashes . . .
Diana Cooke was "born with the century" and came of age just after World War I. The daughter of Virginia gentry, she knew early that her parents had only one asset, besides her famous beauty: their stately house, Saratoga, the largest in the commonwealth, which has hosted the crème of society and Hollywood royalty. Though they are land-rich, the Cookes do not have the means to sustain the estate. Without a wealthy husband, Diana will lose the mansion that has been the heart and soul of her family for five generations.
The mysterious Captain Copperton is an outsider with no bloodline but plenty of cash. Seeing the ravishing nineteen-year-old Diana for the first time, he’s determined to have her. Diana knows that marrying him would make the Cookes solvent and ensure that Saratoga will always be theirs. Yet Copperton is cruel as well as vulgar; while she admires his money, she cannot abide him. Carrying the weight of Saratoga and generations of Cookes on her shoulders, she ultimately succumbs to duty, sacrificing everything, including love.
Luckily for Diana, fate intervenes. Her union with Copperton is brief and gives her a son she adores. But when her handsome, charming Ashton, now grown, returns to Saratoga with his college roommate, the real scandal and tragedy begins.
Reveling in the secrets, mores, and society of twentieth-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.
Goolrick (A Reliable Wife) tells the intriguing and heartbreaking story of American debutante Diana Cooke, whose difficult adult life culminated in her disappearance after her family's estate, Saratoga, burned to the ground. Diana, a beautiful, tomboyish girl, had caring parents who doted on her, and also reinforced the notion that if Diana didn't marry someone wealthy, they could lose Saratoga. Diana, just coming into her twenties, meets Captain Copperton, an older gentleman of new money, and the two quickly marry. Known as a charmer, the captain turns out to be a cruel husband. Together, Diana and Copperton have a son, Ashton, who proves to be Diana's only solace. But after Copperton dies in a horse race, Ashton is sent away, and Diana is left alone with Saratoga, barely able to make ends meet as his fortune is in limbo. Eventually, a grown Ashton returns and begins to set Saratoga on the right course once again, until his devotion to his mother is challenged when she begins a love affair with his closest friend, Gibby. In the end, everyone must overcome their own prejudices to forge a way forward. Filled with glamour and devastating family scheming, this American tragedy swathed in honor, money, and betrayal will please fans of dramatic, sweeping historicals.