The First Warm Evening of the Year Summary and Reviews

The First Warm Evening of the Year

A Novel

by Jamie M. Saul

The First Warm Evening of the Year
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

"The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a burst of bittersweet among the winter branches..."

And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the complex dynamics of family and friendship.

Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends, an undemanding lover devoted to her own career, and his wise brother, a psychiatrist who is the only one who sees and understands him completely - just the way Geoffrey wants it. On an ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York. An old friend has named him the executor of her estate. Twenty years ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other's confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate ways. Now, she's reached out of the past to ask him a final favor. Laura's death has also brought her brother, Simon, to Geoffrey's doorstep. With his sister gone, Simon has no one but her old friend Geoffrey with whom to settle past grievances.

With Simon in tow, Geoffrey travels up to Laura's hometown - the place she chose to live her final years - where he meets Marian Ballantine. A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage, and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot about Geoffrey. Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though he's flattered, he's also thrown off balance. From the moment he first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive, plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool, compartmentalized life. What Marian knows is that life comes with no guarantees, no promises of lasting happiness, and although she finds herself unsettled by this persistent, compelling man, she's unwilling to trade her hard-won, quotidian existence for an indefinite future. Faced with the decision to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the familiar, they will both have to discover the courage it takes to tumble into the abyss of love.

The First Warm Evening of the Year is a gripping and evocative novel that resonates on every page with the joys and pains of being alive. It is a novel that more than satisfies the promise of the author's debut, Light of Day, about which the Indianapolis Star said, "Saul's ability to create deep and interesting characters is a strength that no doubt will surface time and again in future works," and prompted Bookreporter.com to praise Saul's "sensitivity and rare understanding of the human psyche."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Saul's ability to create deep and interesting characters is a strength that no doubt will surface time and again." - Indianapolis Star

"A writer supremely confident of his vision, Saul leaves us stunned and breathless." - Orlando Sentinel

"This talky love story will turn the most romantic reader into a curmudgeon." - Kirkus Reviews

The information about The First Warm Evening of the Year shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Sherrill B. (Columbia City, In.)

the first warm evening of the year
It was a very easy read and it definitely held my attention to the end. I liked the idea; I didn't know how it was going to end until the end of the story. The book is full of emotion, as the characters try to figure out just how they fit together in the puzzle of life: Whether to hold on to the past all their life, or move on to new territory and love.

Sandra H. (St. Cloud, Minnesota)

The First Warm Evening of the Year by Jaime M. Saul
How easy it can be for our lives to fall into a pattern, to accept the known over the unknown, and fall into a never-ending routine. We can be so accustomed to the everyday that we forget a time when life was exciting, when we welcomed the new and looked forward to the unexpected. That is where the characters in Jaime Saul’s novel find themselves. All are in their 40’s and have put behind them the exciting days of their youth and early adulthood. Laura and Geoffrey shared a unique friendship in college. Laura married a fellow musician and became part of a well-known jazz group that had gigs worldwide while Geoffrey remained a bachelor who became successful in the arts, had sophisticated friends and a girl friend who demanded nothing of him. Marian, Laura’s best friend, married her brilliant high school sweetheart and together they developed an innovative and successful landscaping business. But then Laura dies of cancer at age 42 and names Geoffrey executor of her will. Arriving in her home town of Shady Grove, NY, he meets Marian and suddenly realized that “No one had ever quite looked at me like that. That’s when I fell in love with her.” But this is not a harlequin romance. Rather, it is a beautifully written story of how love can, if we are willing to let it, change our lives. As the title suggests, for Geoffrey and Marian their meeting is indeed “the first warm evening of the year” that suggests many more to come.
5 stars

Philip K. (San Anselmo, Ca)

Special
I am an older man who doesn't particularly enjoy love stories as they are often maudlin and unrealistic. The First Warm Evening of the year was neither as it was more character-driven than anything else, and it's characters were people you would want to befriend in life. Beautifully written, there were time I reread paragraphs for their beauty. Highly recommended.

Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)

The First Warm Evening of the Year
Like a mystery story, The First Warm Evening of the Year, held me in its trance. It is a love story, but unlike most romances, it is poignant, heart-rending and suspenseful. Saul's wonderfully crafted characterizations, and his ability to write with compassion and elegance make for a wonderful read.

Julie M. (St. Paul, MN)

Fate or Luck?
This story reinforced my belief that people are put in our path or in our lives for a reason and sometimes one connection can lead to another with another person. Also that not everyone is ready for a committed relationship early in life, but eventually we all seem to desire it.

Caryl L. (Williamsburg, VA)

first warm evening of the year
This is a delightful book telling the story of three lives intertwined in a sea of conflicting emotions and conflicts.
Marion, a widow, satisfied with her stagnant life, after her husband,s death. Geoffrey, hoping to free his busy life in NYC busy with social connections and cocktail parties and anxious to make his life meaningful. Eliot, in love with Marion but unable express it.
Saul has the ability to look into the hearts and minds of his characters. He shows a deep understanding of the human mind and heart.

...15 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Jamie M. Saul was born and raised in New York City. He has written for various magazines, including People and Playboy. A two-time guest professor at Yale University, he was the recipient of the Poynter Fellowship. He is the author of the novel Light of Day. He divides his time between New York City and a small town in the Hudson Valley.

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