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Loving Chloe

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As readers of her highly praised first novel, Hank and Chloe, will remember, Mapson's endearing heroine often behaves rashly, is exasperatingly stubborn, lies and doesn't confine her body to one bed. In reprising the protagonists of that book, Mapson has written an even more touching and provocative story, one that captures the complexities of human relationships in a situation where decent but flawed people attempt to behave honorably and yet acknowledge a triangle of passionate love. When Chloe turns up at Hank's cabin near an Indian reservation in Arizona, she has come to tell him that she's pregnant. Hank is thrilled, but Chloe refuses to talk about marriage. Hot-tempered, restless and defensive, Chloe has a mouth, an attitude and a troubled past. Training horses is in her blood; trust, fidelity and domesticity are not. Chafing at the restrictions of pregnancy, Chloe endangers the health of her baby, which is born prematurely and delivered by Junior Whitebear, just returned to the reservation from the East, where he has become wealthy and famous making Navajo jewelry. The immediate attraction between Junior and Chloe throws all three principals into a crucible of painful decisions. Meanwhile, other events‘the terminal illness of Hank's mother, the disastrous visit of Chloe's teenaged friend Kit Wedler, secrets in Chloe's and Junior's pasts‘interweave with further complications. Mapson's compassionate understanding of human nature distinguishes her narratives, in which even the minor players are conflicted, vulnerable and appealing. Snappy, earthy dialogue, smoldering sex scenes and specific details of horse training and Indian culture are unobtrusively integrated into a narrative that has echoes of Hillerman and Kingsolver but is distinctively and memorably Mapson's own. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (Feb.)

"Quite possibly the best love story of the decade--and clearly the wisest, most magical...Jo-Ann Mapson's sensual writing tells every woman's secret urges and makes this book impossible to put down."-- Jonis Agee"Mapson creates characters so real you could recognize them coming down the road...It's good seeing Hank and Chloe again."-- "Chicago Tribune""Mapson's dialogue is earthly and funny, her setting evocative, her portrayal of good people facing difficult choices compassionate."-- "New York Times Book Review""This is the kind of novel you want to keep reading. Mapson is a master of her trade and knows just where to push the buttons."-- "Detroit Free Press"

Remember the last time you curled up with a great book and a soda at one in the afternoon and the next thing you knew you'd missed dinner? Well, you'd best be prepared for this novel with a two-liter of your favorite drink and a comfortable chair because Mapson's sequel to Hank and Chloe (LJ 2/1/93) is one of the finest books this reviewer has read in a while. Chloe Morgan is pregnant with Hank Oliver's child and goes to live with him in northern Arizona. She delivers the child early with the assistance of handsome Native American jewelry artisan Junior Whitebear, and the two form a mysterious bond. This relationship tempts Chloe to cheat on Hank, and she begins to question whether she is capable of fidelity with anyone. Supporting players in this story come alive, just as in the earlier book, and northern Arizona is so well drawn that you'll want to catch the next plane there. Mapson is a wordsmith of the highest caliber. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/97.]‘Bettie Shea, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., N.C.

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