THE FIREMAN'S FAIR by Josephine Humphreys


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 Far richer in love than Rich in Love (1987), this third novel from Humphreys (her first was Dreams of Sleep, 1984) fully evokes a jittery, post-hurricane Charleston where people are figuring out that they need to rebuild their lives as well as their rooftops. Rob Wyatt, a 33-year-old lawyer, has long been in love with his law partner's wife, Louise. Lately, even before the hurricane hit, Rob has been scaling down, trading his deluxe apartment for a beach shack, turning in his Alfa and driving an old Toyota. Now, in the wake of the storm, it becomes clear to him that he wants to stop being a lawyer, too. So he quits--much to the satisfaction of his unorthodox mother, who believes that the hurricane may have brought the chance for a ``new lease on life.'' But Rob himself isn't certain whether the path he's chosen is really leading to new opportunities or whether--as Louise seems to think--it's simply a slippery slop down to the land of the lowlife. In the midst of his confusion, he meets Billie Poe, a 19-year-old with certain confusions of her own. In short order, Billie moves into the spare room in Rob's beach house and then into the corner of his heart that was formerly reserved for Louise. Now, to complicate matters, Rob has to decide what to do with the love of two irresistible women. What finally happens isn't exactly surprising, but it is completely satisfying. Humphreys's writing is as resonant as always. She has a knack for gauging the tricky pulse of love and, this time, the prognosis is her most hopeful one yet. An appealing romance that's something of a parable for the end of the 80's--when the hurricane hits, false love and yuppie pretensions are swept away, really gone with the wind.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83907-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991