In this third installment of the charmingly engaging Equilibrist series, beloved professor Erasmus Cromwell-Smith returns to the Cambridge lecture hall to regale his students with treasured stories, memories, and ancient scribbles that showcase a life’s pursuit of happiness and the ultimate joy he’s found in reuniting with the love of his life. Here, the focus is on the years Erasmus and his college paramour Victoria spent apart, and the reasons behind her sudden departure.
The narrative alternates fluidly between past and present. Whether watching a sunrise at a Nantucket beach or reclining in the comfort of their campus home, complete with Chesterfields, hot tea, and the melodious strains of Michel Legrand in the background, the detailed settings spark conversations about when Erasmus and Victoria were separated. The expressive dialogue, often including affectionate addresses of “My lady” or “My Brit,” captures the loving demeanor of this cultured pair.
Trying to extinguish the guilt of her past exit, Victoria reveals her manipulation into a loveless marriage with a “mind doctor” nearly 30 years her senior. Meanwhile, Erasmus has travelled, written books, and entertained his own discreet relationships. The couple’s conversations prove the impetus for Erasmus’ current classroom lectures, with topics ranging from adversity, resilience, forgiveness, reciprocity, inspiration, and joy.
Victoria’s children join the character mix as a new generation with their own aspirations. A surprise revelation connected to Erasmus’ post-college European travels, and an even more shocking current event impacting Erasmus and Victoria’s future, help satisfy readers’ investment into these characters’ lives. The book, however, contains punctuation and typographical errors (including misspelling Michel Legrand as Michele) that require correction.
While this work can stand alone, there’s a certain comfort of familiarity in experiencing the collection as a whole, and this latest release allows an entertaining way to see where life has taken these memorable characters. While the modern-day fairytale essence may be too auspicious for some, those open to the magic of life’s possibilities will surely find this enjoyable reading.