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A family tragedy brings artist Sarah Bryden back to the Flint Hills of Kansas. There, she forms a deep friendship with brilliant professor John Wilde, which quickly blossoms into something more-threatening John's marriage and Sarah's sense of right and wrong. Theirs is a passion driven by the forces of providence, one that will be played out against the wild beauty of the Flint Hills, as powerful as nature itself...
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Sarah Bryden is set to shake the dust of the Kansas Flint Hills from her shoes and pursue art and higher learning in brighter and more sophisticated venues when her beloved grandfather loses his leg in a gruesome quarry accident at the start of this flowery drama. As grandma bitterly points out, the old man was still on the job only to pay for Sarah's highfalutin education, so she owes it to him to come home and help take care of him. She goes to work as a waitress at the Cassoday Cafe ("Good Food and Gossip, Established 1879") and a generous slice of the world comes to her door. There's Joy Bell, the Cassoday's good-hearted proprietor. There's Billy Moon, a widowed high school history teacher who becomes Sarah's suitor. And there is the intriguing and brilliant John Wilde, recently moved to town with his too-cool wife, Susan, and their disturbed adopted son, Will. Sarah's developing relationship with the Wildes is the center around which the novel revolves. It's clear from the moment of their meeting that the friendship is to be more than casual. The bleak, grassy landscape of the Flint Hills is lovingly described and sets the tone for the novel, though the action moves far away from Kansas, to Paris and Cambridge, England. Graham (Firebird) is an astute chronicler of sentiment and motive, but she allows the novel's point of view to skip incessantly from character to character. These inconsistencies and a few plot stretches (the finale especially is manipulative) are obscured in a rosy haze of romance, but readers may still feel the bumps. (Oct.)Forecast: Firebird had a lot of high-profile admirers (Mary Higgins Clark and John Jakes among them), but Graham's latest isn't likely to pick up a lot of new fans, though it is a Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Booklist:
Sarah Bryden lives with her grandparents in Bazaar, a tiny town at the base of the Flint Hills in Kansas. She waitresses at a local diner and paints beautiful pictures she lets no one see. When John and Susan Wilde move to a neighboring, sleepy town with their ailing son, Will, Sarah connects with their baby in a way that sparks interest from John and envy from Susan. Unusual circumstances, leading to a car accident, leave Will in Sarah's care, and as he thrives, John's feelings toward Sarah also grow. A number of events take place, including a devastating flood with tragic consequences, that force Sarah, John, and Susan to reevaluate the choices they have made and the lives they want to lead. This love story is charged with emotion and filled with poetic detail. Graham is adept at capturing the nuances of small-town living, but the convenient twists of plot ensuring a happy ending and the smattering of one-dimensional characters keep this from being even more enjoyable. Carolyn Kubisz
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Book Description Time Warner Paperbacks, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0751524220