"The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a
burst of bittersweet among the winter branches . . ."
And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a
passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the
complex dynamics of family and friendship.
Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor
life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends,
an undemanding lover devoted to her own career, and his wise
brother, a psychiatrist who is the only one who sees and
understands him completely-just the way Geoffrey wants it. On an
ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him
with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York. An
old friend has named him the executor of her estate. Twenty years
ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other''s
confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate ways.
Now, she''s reached out of the past to ask him a final favor.
Laura''s death has also brought her brother, Simon, to Geoffrey''s
doorstep. With his sister gone, Simon has no one but her old friend
Geoffrey with whom to settle past grievances.
With Simon in tow, Geoffrey travels up to Laura''s hometown-the
place she chose to live her final years-where he meets Marian
Ballantine. A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage,
and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot
about Geoffrey. Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though
he''s flattered, he''s also thrown off balance. From the moment he
first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive,
plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool,
compartmentalized life. What Marian knows is that life comes with
no guarantees, no promises of lasting happiness, and although she
finds herself unsettled by this persistent, compelling man, she''s
unwilling to trade her hard-won, quotidian existence for an
indefinite future. Faced with the decision to embrace the unknown
or retreat to the safety of the familiar, they will both have to
discover the courage it takes to tumble into the abyss of love.
The First Warm Evening of the Year is a gripping and
evocative novel that resonates on every page with the joys and
pains of being alive. It is a novel that more than satisfies the
promise of the author''s debut, Light of Day, about which
the Indianapolis Star said, "Saul''s ability to create
deep and interesting characters is a strength that no doubt will
surface time and again in future works," and prompted
Bookreporter.com to praise Saul''s "sensitivity and rare
understanding of the human psyche."