A Sandhills Ballad

Ladette Randolph, Author
Ladette Randolph, Author University of New Mexico Press $26.95 (343p) ISBN 978-0-8263-4685-8
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Open Ebook - 494 pages - 978-0-8032-5333-9
Paperback - 346 pages - 978-0-8032-3630-1
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After youthful rancher Mary Needham loses her husband and her left leg in a terrible car crash, she's convinced that God has abandoned her and that no one will love her again. Her fear of being alone pushes her to marry charismatic but conservative preacher Ward Hamilton, but by the time she realizes her horrible mistake she's pregnant and unable to leave him. But when Ward spearheads a lawsuit against the family of Mary's dead husband, she risks everything she has built to get away from him. Stark and engrossing, this debut novel from short story writer, editor and Ploughshares director Randolph (This Is Not the Tropics) fixes an empathetic but relentless gaze on a woman determined to expunge the regrets from her life. The small-town American plains setting is strangely void of temporal context, trapped much like its heroine, whose trepidation and hesitancy Randolph handles with unexpected skill, keeping Mary likable when she could easily have grown frustrating. An immersing achievement, this novel should please any fan of good fiction, not just the horses-and-heartthrobs set.
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