December 3, 1941
Dear Mrs. Prouty:
My own palate is, of course, fully aware of all those sour flavors you particularize and enumerate in your letter of November 30, and, honestly, my gorge rises with yours.
I do think, however, that you misstate the effect that the reading of her review will have on the mind of the really intelligent reader. It is so obviously not a piece of balanced criticism, but rather a “slam”, inspired by the desire to be funny, that it really can’t be taken very seriously.
As for what I personally think of the book, I think I have told you at least once a month, for a good many months, and you must believe me, it’s an honest job in its field, with qualities of firm character drawing and a succession of really dramatic cumulative climaxes that sharply set it off from the group of light popular novels by “lady novelists” with which Miss Hauser, with her blind spot, has confused it.
I stand 100% with the characterization which is to be used, providentially, in next Sunday’s Times – the week following that in which Miss Hauser’s divertissement appeared: “True psychological insight is revealed in this courageous, modern solution to a familiar problem. Olive Higgins Prouty’s latest novel is a not easily forgotten story.”
I hope this finds you full of pine air and quail meat, and less disturbed by the slings and arrows of outrageous reviewers.
MS Am 1925 (1462), Houghton Mifflin Publishing Co. archive, Houghton Library, Harvard University