FIREBIRD by Janice Graham


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First-timer Graham crosses lust with New Age longings in a hybrid-romance about a violinist who wins her man only after she dies. In Flint Hills, Kansas, Ethan Brown is called —Wordsworth— because he studied at Yale and has an extensive library in his law office downtown. Divorced, estranged from his teenaged son, and a little lonely despite his engagement to Katie Anne Mackey, daughter of the area’s most imposing cattle rancher, Ethan keeps his spirits up by focusing on his plan to start his own ranch adjoining the Mackeys——until, that is, he meets the new woman in town, Annette Zeldin, a now-famous violinist who left Kansas two decades ago, married, divorced, then stayed in Paris to raise a daughter and become —Europeanized.— The locals scoff at her, and at her daughter’s French accent, but Ethan is mesmerized by her depth and beauty--qualities lacking in the brash Katie Anne. Annette is in town to bury her mother before leaving forever, but her attraction to Ethan, who can quote Yeats to her on command, convinces her to stay. The mutual attraction is so strong that Ethan breaks his engagement and Annette turns her back on Paris to be a housewife in the Kansas hills. But when Katie Anne announces that she’s pregnant, Ethan feels honor-bound to marry her—and, soon after the wedding, a fire courses through the Mackeys’ and Ethan’s land, killing Annette and burning Katie Anne beyond recognition. As Annette’s spirit follows her mother toward heaven, she realizes that her love for her daughter necessitates that she remain bound to the world of the living: so she inhabits the body of her fellow burn victim, Ethan’s wife Katie Anne. The lovers are together at last—but will Ethan, now revolted by the sight of Katie Anne, ever realize that the woman he loves is inside his wife’s disfigured body? Graham’s body-switch gimmick is certainly a weird one, but her unabashed passion for cowboys, French wine, and all things romantic may win her an enthusiastic following. (First printing of 150,000; Literary Guild Main selection; $400,000 ad/promo; author tour before publication)

Pub Date: July 20th, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-14404-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998


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