A compelling new commercial voice, Graham brings an engaging narrative style to her first novel, a romantic tale set in the Flint Hills of the Kansas prairie. Ethan Brown is a gentleman rancher and the sole attorney in Cottonwood Falls, but he's a lawyer with a heart: his office sign quotes Wordsworth--a reference to his love of English poetry and to an academic career sidelined by his desire to stay on his home ground, where he and longtime girlfriend Katie Anne are taking their time tying the knot. Enter Annette Zeldin, a concert violinist in town from Paris with her young daughter, for her mother's funeral. Annette strikes most of the townspeople as foreign and haughty, but Ethan is smitten. In fact, he's so disturbed by Annette's presence that he firms up his wedding plans in an attempt to keep his life wrinkle-free. Predictably, Ethan and Annette fall in love, and Ethan tries unsuccessfully to break off his engagement. When a disastrous fire moves through the area, tragedy ensues and the lives of all the protagonists are irrevocably changed. Graham creates solid scenes of domestic life and develops her characterizations with a sure hand. But she gives her tale an unearthly twist that's disappointingly artificial and requires the reader's leap of faith, not once but twice. She also has a habit of describing emotional states in purple prose. That said, however, her dexterous storytelling pulls at the heartstrings, and her evocations of the wind and skies over the Kansas prairie give an extra dimension to a multifaceted love story that's sure to be a strong contender for the women's' fiction hit of the season. 150,000 first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; audio rights to HarperCollins; foreign rights sold in U.K., Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain and Sweden; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (June) FYI: Graham has signed a three-book contract with Putnam and, in an unprecedented move, the Literary Guild and several foreign publishers have followed suit with multibook deals for this first-novelist.
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998 Release date: 07/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 335 pages - 978-0-425-16987-2