Private Woods

Sandra Crockett Moore, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $18.95 (302p) ISBN 978-0-15-174710-8
Set in Nashville and the mountains of East Tennessee, Moore's skillfully written, absorbing first novel is the story of a woman caught between her love for two men. When Sarah Lannom, her husband, Dick, and another couple go to an isolated lodge where the men will hunt deer, Sarah is astonished to find that their guide is Sonny Woods, her brother's best friend and the man she was to marry 17 years before. But Sonny returned from Vietnam deeply traumatized, and a series of misunderstandings kept them apart; four months later Sarah married Dick. Sonny, it turns out, has married a mountain woman who is Sarah's distant cousin. By the time the trip is over, Sarah has experienced a nightmarish scare in the wilderness, followed by an idyll of love; her life has reached a turning point and is irrevocably changed. The book holds the reader's interest though some of the plot devices seem contrived. Even when she is caught in the toils of a terrible dilemma, Sarah is not a compelling character, however, and we never understand what makes her irresistible to two men. Dick is unbelievably handsome and noble; Sonny's behavior, even when seen as the legacy of war, tinges on the bizarre. On the other hand, Moore's sense of placethe mountain wildernessis acute, and her knowledge of deerhunting illuminates the behavior of both the hunter and the hunted. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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