A winter-summer relationship ends tragically, leaving the older man grieving in his beloved's snowbound trailer, feeding carrots to her horse and reading her family history: an awkard near-parody by the respected author of Peggy SaltÇ (1983). Revisiting old themes, Edwards offers Kate DuVal as a young woman possessed by her ancestral past, viewing her love life through the eyes of generations of luckless DuVal women. She meets Graden Wells, a wealthy, middle-aged Boston financier who's come west to poke at his own dark family roots—including a grandfather who killed himself near Durango, Colorado. Kate is there, a freshman in college but wise beyond her years, and a chance encounter in a local bar enables them to share enough of their family history to become infatuated with each other. Graden learns the full story of the DuVal women—from Susannah, a headstrong belle who bedded a pair of Confederate brothers during the Civil War, to Eva, Kate's mother, who used men like Kleenex and never did quite know who Kate's father was. He finds himself playing the part in Kate's reconstructed ancestry of ``Uncle'' Tom, a New Mexico rancher who fell in love with his niece and had tho children by her although she was married to someone else at the time and died giving birth to the second child. When Graden rebuilds his grandfather's cabin, hoping to persuade Kate to move in, he finds himself unexpectedly saddled with another, less romantic connection to the men in the DuVal past, and she grows distant. They separate, and Graden leaves town to collect himself, but turns around after having a premonition of disaster, only to find that his lover and her horse have disappeared. One-dimensional characters and sketchy plotting make for a deeply flawed love story, although the prevailing mood of catastrophic midlife crisis seems genuine enough.
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