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Extended Audio Sample Cascade, by Maryanne O’Hara Click for printable size audiobook cover
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Cascade, Massachusetts, 1935. Desdemona Hart Spaulding, a promising young artist, abandoned her dreams of working in New York City to rescue her father. Two months later he is dead and Dez is stuck in a marriage to reliable but child-hungry Asa Spaulding. Dez also stands to lose her father’s legacy, the Cascade Shakespeare Theater, as the Massachusetts Water Authority decides whether to flood Cascade to create a reservoir. Amid this turmoil arrives Jacob Solomon, a fellow artist for whom Dez feels an immediate and strong attraction. As their relationship reaches a pivotal moment, a man is found dead and the town accuses Jacob, a Jewish outsider. But the tide turns when Dez’s idea for a series of painted postcards is picked up by The American Sunday Standard and she abruptly finds herself back on the path to independence. New York City and a life with Jacob both beckon, but what will she have to give up along the way? Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Maryanne O’Hara invites the reader into the life of a young artist, Desdemona Hart, whose sacrifice for love spawns a cascade of secrets that threatens not only to undo her, but also a town, a way of life, and the heritage her beloved father has left them all. Rich with painterly image and flickering with desire, Cascade explores how passion—for life, for love, for art—can determine destiny.”

    Robin Oliveira, New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter

  • “Maryanne O’Hara weaves as intricate, as theatrical, and as tempestuous a plot as deftly as Prospero. Through the eyes of an artist yearning for a larger life-canvas but constrained by a humdrum marriage in a town careening toward destruction, we see the failing of men and women in their tangled relationships, each member of the cast struggling to find a fulfilling life. Save the town! Save the Shakespearean theater! Save our dreams, we cry out with the players.”

    Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue

  • “Gorgeously written and involving, Cascade explores the age-old conflict between a woman’s perceived duty and her deepest desires, but in O’Hara’s skilled hands the struggle feels fresh and new.”


  • Cascade unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, with an ending you won’t see coming…Much like a drowned town, the novel becomes something that you can’t take your eyes from or stop thinking about in wonder.”

    Boston Globe

  • “O’Hara deftly combines several different themes into a cohesive novel about love, ambition, loyalty, and betrayal, with an ironic twist at the end.”

    Library Journal

  • A Slate Magazine Best Book of 2012: Staff Pick
  • A People Pick of the Week in 2012
  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick Best Bet in 2012
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About the Author

Maryanne O’Hara, a graduate of Emerson College’s MFA program, was a longtime associate editor at Ploughshares magazine. Her short stories have been published in Five Points, the North American Review, Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth. She lives near Boston with her family.