The Tower by the late British author Marguerite Steen, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature whose works enjoyed a period of popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, is her standalone vintage literary fiction novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press’ The Odyssey Press imprint.
This was originally published in 1959 by Collins. The story focuses on the dramatic tensions underlying domestic relationships and thwarted dreams, as a painter of artistic temperament is tempted by desperate family need to take a salaried day job which his wife recognizes he is unsuited for, and instead encourages him to take a foreign art commission which turns out to be an even more disastrous undertaking for them both.
Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.
Free for a limited time, available worldwide @ Amazon
What would you sacrifice to achieve your dream?
Painter Tom Proctor and his wife Antonia are among innumerable victims of the so-called Welfare State, their problem complicated by their child, Noelle, who is in desperate need of care.
Tom’s career has arrived at an impasse, in which his sole support is the steadfast belief of Antonia in the value and honesty of his work.
Torn between duty to wife and child and artistic integrity, Tom is about to plav for safety by accepting a salaried job in an art school.
But, realising that he is by training and temperament wholly unfitted tor such work, and that it can only lead to disaster, Antonia makes a terrible choice, and by an act of desperation prevents the sacrifice.
Freed of their tragic responsibility, the pair of them leave for the South of France, where Tom has been offered a commission to decorate a Saracen tower to the specifications of an elderly French dilettante with more financial acumen than conscience.
After a few days, however, both realise they have been disillusioned by a romanticised vision of life in France, and their tragedy back in London has significantly marred their relationship.
Proctor spends his days enjoying drink after drink, with little work being done on the tower, whilst Antonia confines herself to her own solitude, feeling he is losing his vision.
Feeling insignificant and frustrated, Antonia announces that she will be gone for a while.
After hearing little from her whilst she is away, Proctor remembers why they came to France and gets back to work on The Tower.
His longing for Antonia intensifies over time and matters are heightened when it is made evident that Proctor has been used as a tool in Mesurat’s money-making scheme.
In The Tower, Marguerite Steen delicately explores domestic tension and the strength that comes from a loving relationship against an artistic backdrop she knows so well.