Though Mr. Evans has employed the classic plot of one woman torn between her love for two men, his descriptive, emotion-filled prose fills this novel with a completeness that can only be provided by the most talented of writers. From the beautiful flora and fauna of the Montana wilderness to the war-ravaged country of Uganda, Mr. Evans provides a journey that will enrapture the reader from the very first page.

A chance meeting resulting from an argument over a parking space in Boston begins a love affair between aspiring composer Ed Tully and Julia Bishop. As part of an elite "smoke jumper" force, Ed and photographer friend Connor Ford join a team of others who parachute into the midst of a forest fires to help get them under control. Julia joins them as she finds summer employment working with troubled teenagers.

When one of Julia's charges, Skye, goes missing on a hike, Julia's quest to find her is hampered by a consuming fire. As Connor and Ed arrive to help, tragedy strikes and in its aftermath, Connor makes plans to travel and photograph the devastating effects of war-torn lands.

Upon Julia's marriage to Ed, the two make their home in Montana, and she settles into a life of teaching part-time while Ed busies himself writing musicals and acquiring promising piano students. As they seek to add children to their family, Connor once again comes into the picture to help make the Tully family complete.

(Aug., 640 pp., $7.99)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick