Brown-Eyed Girl

Virginia Swift, Author
Virginia Swift, Author HarperCollins $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-019555-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-06-103030-7
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-213353-3
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As much a mainstream story of two gutsy Wyoming women as it is a mystery, Swift's first novel captivates. Meg Dunwoodie, a newspaperwoman well known for her tough, incisive political reporting, returned to her native Wyoming from Europe just as WWII broke out and never left home again. Like Emily Dickinson, she became famous for her poetry only after her death. Now her estate has endowed a chair in American women's history at the University of Wyoming. History professor Sally Alder is appointed to the professorship on the condition that she live in Meg's house in Laramie and write the poet's biography. Sally, who was locally famous as a ""hell-raising"" bar singer 20 years earlier and is struggling with changes in her life, returns to Wyoming to begin to uncover the truth about Meg's past. But someone keeps breaking into the house, perhaps to look for the cache of Krugerrands that are the stuff of local legend. Unknown parties paint Sally's car with swastikas, while strangers in camouflage gear descend on the town during a blizzard. Skinheads, neo-Nazis, professors, lawmen, barmaids and others with secrets of their own converge as Sally unravels Meg's story, discovering why the woman buried herself in smalltown America after living the life of a European sophisticate. Swift develops her engaging tale gracefully, with a real feel for the atmosphere of its Wyoming setting. Agent, Elaine Koster. (Apr.)
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