Binding Spell

Elizabeth Arthur, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (372p) ISBN 978-0-385-24844-0
Like an offbeat, modern fairy tale, this story of love and politics set in rural Indiana combines animals, weather, psychology and even a would-be witch in its own enchanting spell. Different expectations are aroused when news reaches the farming town of Felicity that two professors from Russia are due to visit local Powell College. Newly elected Sheriff Guthrie Peale is uncertain what will be required of him and his men, and his older brother Ryland, deeper than usual in his hypochondriacal funk, has none of his customary advice to offer. While consulting herbalist Ada Esterhaczy, Ryland meets Ada's granddaughter Maggie, another pessimistic soul, who is organizing the Russians' visit. The same day, Guthrie encounters Bailey Bourne, a witch-hopeful whose brother Howell is hatching a plot to kidnap the Russians and demand the burning of all the mortgages on local farms. How love quickens at an anti-nuclear war meeting; how the kidnapping is broached and botched; how Ada engineers the conception of her first great-grandchild; and how the Russians finally prove that individuals are more compelling and more interesting than ideology are only parts of the charm of this funny and moving story. After a wonderful climax scene during which a tornado wreaks havoc in Felicity, the characters variously achieve passion, happiness and balance. A tale full of wit and affection, Arthur's latest offering (after Bad Guys and Beyond the Mountain ) also boasts the best collection of dogs in recent literature. ( September )
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-553-34805-7
Hardcover - 978-0-395-47096-1
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