Tuesday, September 30, 2014

'Charleston' author Margaret Thornton at Barnes & Noble Arboretum

Bradham Thornton
Eliza Poinsett is a fictional heroine, Southern at that. But she doesn't depend on the kindness of strangers, as do so many of the heroines of Tennessee Williams's plays.

Eliza is the invention of  Margaret Bradham Thornton, a graduate of Charleston's Ashley Hall and of Princeton University. She is the award-winning author of  "Tennessee Williams's Notebooks." After ten years of research into the great playwright's journals, she was unwilling to create a heroine who was waiting around for a man to rescue her.

Thornton's "Charleston" (Ecco, $25.99) tells the story of  two Charlestonians: Eliza, an art historian living in London, and charming newspaperman Henry Heyward, who is raising his nine-year-old son. The two happen to meet again in 1990, after a decade apart, at a wedding in the English countryside. A second chance? Maybe so.

Thornton herself grew up in Charleston, and the Charleston Mercury praised her eye for detail, "from the swamps of the ACE Basin to a South of Broad dinner party."

I'm hoping the author will call for questions. Be sure to ask her about the role of Henry James's heroine Isabel Archer, and what she found under the paint in the Charleston house she restored.

Meet the Author:

Thornton will sign copies of her book from 3-5 p.m., Wednesday, at Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum, 3327 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, 28226.