Evan Maxwell has a truly moving and compelling voice that makes his novels rich, rewarding reading. This novel is a wonderful accomplishment.

Cellist Kate Saarinan is on the verge of signing a multi-million dollar recording deal that will truly launch her career. Still, she has committed to teaching a week long fellowship in the small Washington town of Langly, so she proceeds with her plans to leave New York.

For Kate, this week proves painful, for the town of Langly reminds her of her own home town where many years ago she was seduced and betrayed by her local preacher, Martin Thorsen. The results of that affair continue to haunt Kate. Giving her daughter up for adoption was best for the baby, but Kate is unconsciously searching for her child in every teenage girl she meets. On her way into town, Kate is transfixed by the sight of a flock of trumpeter swans. When Kate approaches, she sees a dog stalking the magnificent birds.

Bran Corry is more than annoyed when a woman interferes with his rescue of a wounded bird. Bran's dog is herding the birds on command, but Kate gets in the way, nearly causing havoc. After this disastrous meeting, Kate is disconcerted to discover that Bran is the only man around who can repair her damaged cello.

Both Kate and Bran know that she is just passing through town, but the connection between them is deep and immediate. The discovery that the town's preacher is none other than Martin Thorsen forces Kate to deal with her past.

(Apr, 256 pp, $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith