Among Birches

Rebecca Hill, Author William Morrow & Company $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06165-4
Intelligent and searching, Hill's (Blue Rise new novel concerns the influences of childhood conditioning, the attenuations of marriage bonds, the needs of women to achieve independence while sustaining a loving relationship. That she has integrated all three themes into an engrossing narrative is a measure of her considerable talent. Aspera and Will Hancock were teenage sweethearts in their small Minnesota town and later at college. Now, after 20 years of marriage, their union is fraying: Aspera feels trapped, there's a deadness in her heart. She wants to quit her daily stint in the family hardware store, while Will, with ideas of expansion, feels angry and threatened. Subtly, in scenes with arresting, honest dialogue, Hill portrays the couple in relationships with their lifelong friends and in flashbacks to their formative years. When Aspera takes a lover, another strand is incorporated into a tapestry of complex loyalties. ""We court risk because we're afraid of dying in the middle of our lives,'' Aspera says. Hill makes this emotion palpable in a novel that will impress readers with its poignant truths. (March 21)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-009852-5
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