Dancing at the Harvest Moon

K. C. McKinnon, Author, Patricia Kalember, Read by
K. C. McKinnon, Author, Patricia Kalember, Read by Random House Audio Publishing Group $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-47907-2
Hardcover - 978-0-385-49075-7
Hardcover - 229 pages - 978-0-385-48993-5
Hardcover - 187 pages - 978-1-56895-551-3
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-56865-515-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 248 pages - 978-0-449-00527-9
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The season's prize for sentimentality surely will go to this vapid romantic novel by ""an established literary writer"" publishing under a synonym. (And no wonder.) The question is whether women who wept over thwarted love in The Bridges of Madison County, to which this book is being compared by the publisher, will be equally enraptured by a story in which the heartbreak is fleeting and the syrupy ending is a blatant plug for feminine sexual liberation. After 40-ish Kansas City English professor Maggie McIntyre is dumped by her lawyer husband for a woman half his age, she decides to return to the Canadian lakeside hotel called The Harvest Moon, where she and Robbie Flaubert--gentle backwoodsman and poet manque--enjoyed first love as teenagers. In a series of absurd coincidences, as soon as Maggie finds that the hotel is for sale, the owners just happen to come down the road; they tell her that Claire, her best friend of former years, just happens to be back in town after three divorces; Claire breaks the news that (shock!) Robbie is dead, but his spittin' image son, Eliot (named after the poet!), just happens to be living in his father's house; and Eliot just happens to turn up in answer to Maggie's ad for an assistant (she buys the hotel, of course). Then passion strikes Maggie for the second time. Such tension as there is centers around Maggie's dilemma about whether or not to defy convention and accept the sexual attentions of a kid who could be her son. McKinnon reaches for faux sophistication by quoting Yeats, Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson--and for nostalgia by using the popular songs of the 1960s as background music. Illustrations by Carl Hileman have a spare dignity, but they fail to dilute the saccharine in a narrative morsel palatable only to those who can stomach such lines as, ""He was like some kind of unicorn in the deep Canadian woods."" 250,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; first serial to Good Housekeeping; TV movie rights to Farrah Fawcett/CBS; foreign rights sold in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Finland; major ad/promo. (Oct.)
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