The Blithedale Romance is the story of Miles Coverdale and his summer living at the commune-like community of Blithedale Farm. They spend their days working on the small farm, hoping to realize the efforts of living simply without the involvement of society. He befriends three important characters, Hollingsworth, Zenobia, and Priscilla, and a love “square” develops. Hollingsworth is the natural leader of the community and greatly devoted to prison and criminal reform; Zenobia is wealthy and beautiful and unapologetically critical; Priscilla is gentle and mysterious. Miles cannot help but become intrigued by them, but he has promised to leave the farm at the end of the summer, as it is only an experiment for him.
The Blithedale Romance seems quite mundane for the first half of the novel. The commune isn’t very exciting and there isn’t any devil-worshiping or satanic rites or some strange mystery occurring. That was difficult to get out of my imaginative mind because of some recent movies I’ve seen and the fact I kept expecting some sort of Nancy Drew plotline with a secret staircase.
Much of the story is dialogue between Miles and other characters, so it is easy to become bored and wonder where Hawthorne is intending everything to go. Remember, the focus is on the romance, not on the farm, which I kept expecting the latter to be of more importance.
Everything exciting happens after Miles leaves the farm when the summer ends. I won’t go into it because of spoilers, but then it becomes a page turner and things are reveled about important characters. The Blithedale Romance essentially is a book that gives you everything at the end, and makes you want to go back and re-read the tedious beginning to see if there was anything you could have picked up on. Although these sorts of stories are always interesting, it is difficult to become invested if the beginning was such a snooze.