Reine again showcases an ability to touchingly weave sorrow, grief, humor, and love with complex and resonant blended family dynamics and an eye for environments, especially physical landscapes. While the opening chapters might seem to paint Gideon as an antagonist or even villain, an agent of discord speaking viciousness he seems to believe is truth, Reine is too shrewd and empathetic to keep things simple. As the pages quickly pass, and the story seems to edge toward tragedy, readers get a deeper look into these people, their pasts, and their rifts, the central relationship as rocky yet fascinating as the terrain on which they live.
Fearlessly untangling the complexities of relationships, loss, and perseverance, this is a novel that is both hopeful and relatable. Peyton’s marriage to cowboy Blake, who is not Gideon’s father, is eventually put to the test as they navigate the destruction left by her son. Her identity as an artist is threatened, a bitter rivalry ensues, an old love returns, and Peyton finds herself facing hard choices and opposing paths. The magical realism, respectful interest in Navajo and Ute cultures, and deep spirituality contribute in bringing captivating depth to every character.
Takeaway: Stellar family drama of an artist mother, a difficult son, and hard choices.
Comparable Titles: Lynne M. Spreen; Marylee MacDonald’s Montpelier Tomorrow.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A