Bitter winters are nothing new in Hatchet Inlet, hard up against the ridge of the Laurentian Divide, but the advent of spring can't thaw the community's collective grief, lingering since a senseless tragedy the previous fall. What is different this year is what's missing: Rauri Paar, the last private landowner in the Reserve, whose annual emergence from his remote iced-in islands marks the beginning of spring and the promise of a kinder season.
In the second volume of her Northern Trilogy, Sarah Stonich reassembles characters that endeared Vacationland to so many readers: retired union miner and widower Alpo Lahti is about to wed his charming and lively bride, Sissy Pavola, but, with Rauri unaccounted for, celebration seems premature. Alpo's son Pete struggles to find his straight and narrow, then struggles to stay on it, and even Sissy might be having second thoughts.
Weaving in and out of each other's reach, trying hard to do their best (all the while wondering what that might be), Stonich's characters in all their sweetness and sorrow remind us once more of the inescapable lurches of the heart and unexpected turns of our human comedy.
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