Maximalist Spellman (An Excess of Love, 1985; So Many Partings, 1983) offers another gushing whopper, this time a 715-page Wild West-capade. After Fancy Deverell, a ten-year-old accustomed to the fat of plantation life, is saved by her faithful slave, Atticus, from her burning southern mansion, the two head west and, before long, hook up with a circus--where they meet Magda, a gypsy with magical, mystical, and New Age powers (crystals as well as crystal balls) who teaches Fancy womanly knowledge. Later, when the circus disbands and Atticus dies, Fancy is discovered near frozen in the Colorado wilderness by orphaned cowboy brothers Hart and Chance McAllister--who warm the frozen young teen-ager between them, and who both fall in love with her. Fancy rejects Hart, sleeps with Chance, and then--overwhelmed--runs back to the wilderness, where she is gang-raped, recovers, and has Chance's baby, Aurora. Soon, Chance will find them, but, meanwhile, the despondent Hart graduates from Yale art school, goes to live with Apaches, marries a squaw who is killed, and then goes to Europe, where he becomes a famous post-Impressionist painter. But big trouble brews back home--Chance is killed, Fancy unknowingly marries Chance's killer, bad-boy Jason Madigan, and they move to New York, where Aurora becomes a drug addict. Finally, Jason sends Fancy and Aurora to an inescapable insane asylum, cue for the whole gang to partake in a wingding rescue shoot-out, complete with homemade herbal medicines, crystals, makeshift surgery, and the mystical/magical power of love. An energetic plot that never takes a breather, filled with two-dimensional B-movie characters, and pages and pages of the sugary-sweet: in all, eye-rolling ridiculous, exhausting, and absurdly satisfying.