The author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Bridges of Madison County once again brings characters and situations with his special blend of lyricism and magic. This is a bittersweet story about two good people who discover that true love, when it comes, is rarely fair, or right--or without pain.
Only little old ladies with blue permed hair need be wary of Waller's second foray into fiction: this time around, his saccharine tale of middle-aged lovers gets to sex scenes right away. When Michael Tillman, an Iowa economics professor with a rebel streak, first lays eyes on his colleague's wife, Jellie Branden, he immediately wonders ``how it would feel to grab a big handful of her hair and bend her over the dean's kitchen table.'' A few pages later--still in the first chapter--he is fantasizing about stripping Jellie naked and flying to the Seychelles. Though it takes a while to consummate their passion, Jellie is an iconoclast too: like Mike, she smokes and wears jeans to faculty parties, and she is pretty good in the sex fantasy department herself. But Jellie has a Dark Secret (no surprise to the reader when it is revealed) and Michael must go tearing off to India to try to locate her when she runs away from Cedar Bend. Waller's attempt at academic satire is a dud, but he renders the Indian settings quite effectively. An encounter with a tiger is just the sort of sentimental flourish that fans of The Bridges of Madison County will get teary-eyed over; and there's even a coy reference to Robert Kincaid to evoke the earlier novel. To the main question--will this book please Waller's fans?--the answer is a resounding Yes. Movie rights to 20th Century Fox; BOMC main selection; QPB alternate; author tour.