THE ROCK ORCHARD

Paula Wall, Author, P. S. Wall, Author . Atria $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9620-9

The legendary Belle family women of Leaper's Fork, Tenn., sparkle to life in this fine debut novel by the author of the popular syndicated humor column "Off the Wall." In 1920, tough-minded 23-year-old Charlotte Belle comes to raise her dead sister's bastard child and names her Angela. At 17, Angela, a free-spirited girl with an open heart and the same snappy independence as her aunt, captures the affections of Adam Montgomery, the new doctor in town, on the day he helps her give birth in his back garden. Adam's fiancée, Lydia Jackson, is a cold-hearted Boston-bred snob who takes an instant dislike to vivacious Angela. While ably capturing the insouciant charm of the saucy Belle women and the men they bewitch, Wall loses points for giving short shrift to two major elements introduced late in the story: Adam and Lydia's blueblood Bostonian crowd, who make a too-brief appearance at a winter estate on sultry Banyan Island, and the Rev. Thomas Lyle, who appears out of left field to become the sole contender for Charlotte Belle's heart. Wall's light-as-a-feather prose and winning characters carry the novel, but more work on plot and structure would improve her next effort. Agent, Aaron Priest. 7-city author tour. (Jan. 31)

Reviewed on: 12/13/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4391-0848-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59600-079-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-59600-080-3
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-7434-9623-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-59335-796-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59600-078-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-59335-930-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-8845-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5113-6095-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-59600-081-0
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