In the tradition of The Horse Whisperer comes a novel from the heart that tells a story of universal truths--of the love between men and women and mothers and daughters; of passion that transcends tragedy; of promises made and promises kept. Janice Graham's Firebird is an extraordinarily accomplished first novel that will be published around the world and has been named a main selection of the Literary Guild, already marking this as one of the most noteworthy debuts of 1998 and assuring Graham a brilliant future as a greatly beloved storyteller.
Set in the majestic Flint Hills of Kansas, Firebird tells of a man caught between two womenone who shares his life and his dream of land and cattle; the other a stranger whose love threatens to destroy the dream he has built. Ethan Brown is a gentleman rancheran Ivy-educated lawyer who is as comfortable amongst his books as he is at ease in the company of cowboys. Engaged to the daughter of the wealthiest landowner in the county, he is within reach of the life he has worked so hard to achieve. Annette Zeldin enters Ethan's life when she returns from Europe to settle her mother's estate. A concert violinist, she feels every inch the outsider in the closed ranching community of Cottonwood Falls and clings to her darling young daughter, her lifeline. The time Annette spends with Ethan in his office offers her moments of comfort and communion, and before long, both must acknowledge the passion growing between them.
Annette and Ethan begin a clandestine, transcendent affair that promises to change the landscape of their lives, but is too soon torn apart by tragedy. Yet their connection is soul-deep and everlasting, and their love transforms the lives of those around them in ways subtle and unknown long after its embers have died down. Graham skillfully infuses the novel with ethereal touches that transport the reader from the vast prairies of the Midwest to the intimate realm of the heart. Firebird is a novel that richly articulates the enduring possibilities of love; it is a novel impossible to forget.
So far as we know, no modern poet has written of the Flint Hills, which is surprising since they are perfectly attuned to his lyre. In their physical characteristics they reflect want and despair. A line of low-flung hills stretching from the Osage Nation on the south to the Kaw River on the north, they present a pinched and frowning face to those who gaze on them. Their verbiage is scant. jagged rocks rise everywhere to their surface.
The Flint Hills never laugh. In the early spring when the sparse grass first turns to green upon them, they smile saltily and sardonically. But as spring turns to summer, they grow sullen again and hopeless.
Death is no stranger to them.
JAY E. HOUSE
Philadelphia Public Ledger (1931)
Ethan Brown was in love with the Flint Hills. His father had been a railroad man, not a rancher, but you would have thought he had been born into a dynasty of men connected to this land, the way he loved it. He loved it the way certain ...
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