Lucy Gayheart is a bright eighteen-year-old who heads to the big city of Chicago, leaving behind the small-town politics of Haverford, Nebraska, in 1902. Lucy is pursuing the art of music and eventually attracts the attention of Clement Sebastian, a talented and experienced singer whose eccentricities captivate Lucy’s young mind. This story of love and innocence, growth and stagnation, dreams and reality creates a gripping novel.
Lucy Gayheart (1935) was Cather’s last novel set on the Great Plains and has drawn critical attention to it as a gothic romance. This late novel in Cather’s life also notes a subtle tonal shift from her earlier works. Many critics felt unenthusiastic about the novel when it was first published and it remains one of Cather’s lesser-known books, yet it leaves a haunting impression on the people who read it.