From Publishers Weekly
Stonich's rich debut is a romance in the best sense of the word: it's a tale of love and adventure set in a remote time. From her hospital bed, 99-year-old Isobel Howard recalls her unexpected friendship with Cathryn Malley, a childless, Chicago-born heiress who shunned her family, attended art school and married an Irishman with no pedigree. During the summer of 1936, the women find themselves alone in Cypress, a mining town on the edge of a glacier-fed lake in Minnesota. Isobel is the wife of a tailor, mother of three young children and a milliner by training whose husband, Victor, has taken their two boys away to an island he has purchased--an extravagance that has become a sore point in their marriage. Left behind with her quiet daughter, Louisa, Isobel revives her interest in hatmaking, and Cathryn helps her. During their shared days, Cathryn introduces Isobel to literature, art and a more cosmopolitan view of life, ultimately making Isobel an accomplice to the affair she is having with a local forest ranger. But there is a darker side to this idyll, and as the elderly Isobel reflects on the ensuing events, it is clear that this summer has exacted a heavy price. Sticklers for logic may question some turns of the story, and Stonich's prose, despite an eye for exquisite detail, occasionally succumbs to flights of lyrical fancy. But once past the unsteady opening chapters, the novel gains its footing and opens up into atmospherically rendered, carefully observed scenes. Stonich unfurls a complex, many-layered and suspenseful story; and, like Susan Minot and Anita Shreve, she handles flashbacks and contemporary details with equal precision. (Mar. 7)Forecast: Storich is a talented writer whose affecting novel is bound to create conversation--and to appeal to readers of serious women's fiction. With the push promised by the publisher (including a 3-city author tour), it could have legs.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Isobel Howard leads a quiet life in the small mining town of Cypress, Minnesota. She cares for her three children, helps her husband run his tailoring shop, and dreams of opening a millinery. But after Victor leaves for the summer, taking their two sons with him, Isobel is lonely, and so she befriends Cathryn Malley, a young woman who has accompanied her husband to Cypress on business. Isobel and Cathryn become best friends, and Isobel soon discovers that Cathryn has a secret--a secret that will lead to her own death, as well as the death of her husband, Liam, and her lover, Jack. Cathryn's story, told by Isobel on her deathbed, is interwoven with Isobel's life story, and the passionate love triangle created by Cathryn, Liam, and Jack causes Isobel to reevaluate her own relationship with her husband. In delightfully clear and uncluttered prose, Stonich explores the grand themes of love, passion, forgiveness, and friendship and presents philosophical issues in the context of lives fully lived by vivid and convincing characters. Bonnie JohnstonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved