Set in the 1890s in Moonstone, a fictional town located in Colorado, The Song of the Lark is the self-portrait of an artist in the making. The story revolves around an ambitious young heroine, Thea Kronborg, who leaves her hometown to go to the big city to fulfill her dream of becoming a well-trained pianist, a better piano teacher. When her piano instructor hears her voice, he realizes that this is her true artistic gift. He encourages her to pursue her vocal training instead of piano saying … “your voice is worth all that you can put into it. I have not come to this decision rashly.” The novel captures Thea’s independent-mindedness, her strong work ethic, and her ascent to her highest achievement. At each step along the way, her realization of the mediocrity of her peers propels her to greater levels of accomplishment, but in the course of her ascent she must discard those relationships which no longer serve her. (source: Wikipedia)
631 pages, with a reading time of ~9.75 hours (157,750 words), and first published in 1915. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2009.
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Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in Moonstone. His offices were in the Duke Block, over the drug store. Larry, the doctor’s man, had lit the overhead light in the waiting–room and the double student’s lamp on the desk in the study. The isinglass sides of the hard–coal burner were aglow, and the air in the study was so hot that as he came in the doctor opened the door into his little operating–room, where there was no stove. The waiting room was carpeted and stiffly furnished, something like a country parlor. The study had worn, unpainted floors, but there was a look of winter comfort about it. The doctor’s flat–top desk was large and well made; the papers were in orderly piles, under glass weights. Behind the stove a wide bookcase, with double glass doors, reached from the floor to the ceiling. It was filled with medical books of every thickness and color. On the top shelf stood a long row of thirty or forty volumes, bound all alike in dark mottled board covers, with imitation leather backs.
As the doctor in New England villages is proverbially old, so the doctor in small Colorado towns twenty–five years ago was generally young. Dr. Archie was barely thirty. He was tall, with massive shoulders which he held stiffly, and a large, well–shaped head. He was a distinguished–looking man, for that part of the world, at least.
There was something individual in the way in which his reddish–brown hair, parted cleanly at the side, bushed over his high forehead. His nose was straight and thick, and his eyes were intelligent. He wore a curly, reddish mustache and an imperial, cut trimly, which made him look a little like the pictures of Napoleon III. His hands were large and well kept, but ruggedly formed, and the backs were shaded with crinkly reddish hair. He wore a blue suit of woolly, wide–waled serge; the traveling men had known at a glance that it was made by a Denver tailor. The doctor was always well dressed.