"Valerie D’Lacey, a political reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle, flies to eastern Montana to be at the bedside of her beloved grandmother before she dies. Valerie, relying daily on “little sleepers” as she calls them to get her through her own depression, orders double whiskies to sustain her through the flight to face the ordeal that awaits her. Her childhood friend, Tomas Damon., picks her up at the airport and rushes her to be by her grandmother’s side, who is in a coma . Val, we discover, is three-months pregnant with her married San Francisco lover’s child; what will she, should she, do about her predicament? She has no idea. She can’t wait to leave Montana and return to her new life, as confused as it is, by the Bay. A very saddened Val returns to San Francisco after her grandmother dies before regaining consciousness, but with the deed to her grandmother’s large ranch and a story that her grandmother wrote for her. The story chronicles several generations of Val’s ancestors and family friends in Montana, from the rancher days of the 1880s to the coming of the Val’s homesteading family in the early 1900s, two World Wars and the Great Depression. Family secrets are revealed, heartaches laid bare, and passionate loves of a truant heart disclosed (as her grandmother describes her own heart). The passion and love in these stories reflect the love of her grandmother for the land, which at first she detested. The “Spring Tender” is a mythical character who helps people on the rugged , dry prairie to overcome their seemingly impossible obstacles, just as he brings forth waters from dusty hills by scratching with a nail where he notes the subtle signs of water. Val’s grandmother becomes something like the spring tender for Val, bringing forth fresh water for her dusty spirits, and strength to know how she will resolve the overwhelming troubles afflicting her. "
About Catherine M. Feldman
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Published August 19, 2009
Literature & Fiction.