Excerpt from Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Isabel's Daughter

by Judith Ryan Hendricks

Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks X
Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 385 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2004, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Mr. DeGraf probably don't like cigarette butts all over his yard either." I smile at him as I step through the gate.

The house is a pueblo-style adobe, fashioned with the rounded corners and soft silhouettes of the Pueblo Indian dwellings, not the more boxy, territorial adobes like the Anglos built later on. It's a lighter shade of chocolate than the wall, with the traditional blue doors and windows that are supposed to keep out brujas, or witches. I follow the stone walkway past a huge old lilac bush, its branches drooping under the weight of fragrant purple clusters about to explode into bloom, and cut across the patio. A swimming pool sparkles aquamarine in its underwater lights.

The kitchen is in the usual pre-party state of controlled chaos. It's small but elegant, with granite countertops and the kind of appliances favored by people who can afford to hire kitchen designers. When the screen door bangs behind me, Dale makes a big show of looking at his Rolex.

"Avery. So glad you could join us." His dark eyes give me a once-over. "Polished and pulled together as usual, I see." The guy standing beside him rustles a wrinkled yellow invoice. "Thanks, Tom. Put the wine over there. Under that table."

I try to secure my hair. "They didn't have my name on the-"

"Jesus Christ, you reek. What did you do, take a bath in Opium?"

"Eternity. I'm sorry. Rita broke the bottle and it went everywhere, and I didn't have time to-"

He gives me The Look. "Never mind. Fix your tie and run out to the--shit! Where's your eyes?"

"My eyes are in my head, Dale. I lost my contact."

I notice the muscle in his jaw twitching. "Well, try not to look at anybody."

"Right. In fact, why don't I just walk around with my eyes closed."

"Don't you have some sunglasses?"

"Sure. You can say I'm blind." My arm sinks up to the elbow in the big, brown backpack and I pull out my Men in Black shades.

"The guesthouse . . ." Dale shuts his eyes briefly, as if praying for strength. ". . . is just the other side of the pool. Get six trays of baby rellenos out of the fridge, okay? And try not to make any stops along the way."

Juana is arranging vegetables into a sunburst of color around a bowl of chili aioli. She rolls her eyes at me as I slip out the door, squeezing against the wall to let two guys with giant arrangements of weird looking flowers pass by. Rita's right, I need to get another job. The problem is, Dale and Kirk have one of the best catering companies in Santa Fe, and it would be hard to make as much money with anybody else. That's even assuming I could get on.

I take a big gulp of fresh air. I can get through this. I'll just have to be on full battle alert all night. And I can't see a thing with these damn glasses. I take them off, fold them up, and hook them on the second buttonhole of my shirt.

Steam lifts into the air from the pool's glassy surface, and I find myself wondering how warm they keep it. What it would feel like to glide through the water with crisp strokes, then climb out into the cold air, disappear inside a huge soft towel, and sit in the garden drinking good red wine and listening to the crickets. It's a pretty stupid fantasy for someone who can't even swim. My steps crunch in the gravel.

The guesthouse is private, screened from the big house by coyote fencing and a cluster of aspens. When I open the arched door, I hear voices coming from another room, but I ignore them, poking my head into a bathroom and a coat closet before I find the tiny kitchen. In the refrigerator, I pull out six stacked trays of mini chiles rellenos and start to back out. Now the voices are closer.

". . . get rid of some of this stuff. It's like a damn shrine. Or you could set up a collection box and some candles and-" A man's laugh. "Come on, admit it. It's one of his best."

The foregoing is excerpted from Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.