In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, all four Eichers are dead.
Emily Thornhill, one of the few women journalists in the Chicago press, becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family, particularly to the youngest child, Annabel, an enchanting girl with a precocious imagination and sense of magic. Bold and intrepid, Emily allies herself with a banker who is wracked by guilt for not saving Asta. Emily goes to West Virginia to cover the murder trial and to investigate the story herself, accompanied by a charming and unconventional photographer who is equally drawn to the case.
Driven by secrets of their own, the heroic characters in this magnificent tale will stop at nothing to ensure that Powers is convicted. Mesmerizing and deeply moving, Quiet Dell is a tragedy, a love story, and a tour de force of obsession and imagination from one of America's most celebrated writers.
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"Sprawling... For every tedious page of the murder trial, mired in the story-lethal muck of facts, there is one of soaring lyricism." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Phillips' prose is as haunting as the questions she raises about the natures of sin, evil and grace." - Kirkus
"Starred Review. Phillips... presents an astonishingly effective novel based on a true crime that took place in her native West Virginia in the early 1930s, material that has been brewing in her consciousness for years." - Booklist
"In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It's the story of a serial killer's crimes and capture, yes, but it's also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath." - Stephen King
"Quiet Dell has all the elements of a murder mystery, but its emotional scope is larger and more complex...It offers a portrait of rural America in a time of crisis and dramatizes the lives of a number of characters who are fascinating and memorable." - Colm Tóibín
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Jayne Anne Phillips is the author of Lark and Termite, Motherkind, Shelter, Machine Dreams and Quiet Dell, and the widely anthologized collections of stories, Fast Lanes and Black Tickets. A National Book Award and National Book Critic's Circle Award finalist, Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Bunting Fellowship, the Sue Kaufman Prize, and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She is currently Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, where she established The Writers At Newark Reading Series. Information, essays and text source photographs on her fiction can be viewed at JayneAnnePhillips.com. She ...
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