Three Loves is A. J. Cronin's second novel, first published in 1932. It tells the engrossing, ultimate tragic, story of the three loves of Lucy Moore -- her husband, her son, and God.
Into all three relationships, Lucy brings the same monumental pride, bull-headed obstinance, and self-defeating melodrama that lead to her ultimate downfall. Life gives Lucy some hard knocks, but it is hard to feel sorry for her when she antagonizes all those who try to help her.
It is Lucy’s stubborn hostility that makes this book more interesting than the typical family drama. Although she is not likeable, she inspires some sympathy because she means well in her monomaniacal way. Like with a Greek tragedy, it is hard to tear away even when the tragic end is so apparently inevitable.
The book is fairly long -- over 550 pages -- but moves right along with plenty of action, plot, and conflict among the characters. Some of the attitudes and assumptions of the characters are a little dated, but with illegitimate children, adultery, violent death, lesbianism, insanity, social injustice, and Church hypocrisy, there is nothing stodgy about the story.
Cronin was a prolific mid-century author who wrote more than 20 novels, many which were made into movies or television shows. Judging from Three Loves, it is easy to see why he was so popular.
This book counts as one of my choices for both the Chunkster Challenge and the Typically British Challenge.
(I realize that other reviews of this book are unlikely, but if you have reviewed any Cronin book, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it here.)