"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 completelyjust 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 hometownthe place she chose to live her final yearswhere 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."
About the Author
Jamie M. Saul has written for various magazines including People and Playboy. A two-time guest professor at Yale University, he was the recipient of the Poynter Fellowship.
Praise for The First Warm Evening of the Year…
“Fans of gentle reads will enjoy the strong focus on relationships and the slow build between Marian and Geoffrey.” -Booklist on THE FIRST WARM EVENING OF THE YEAR
“There’s much to make this novel compelling.” -Publishers Weekly
“A beautifully rendered, psychologically astute novel about the risks—and joys—of love and loving.” -Shelf Awareness
“A powerful first novel.” -Indianapolis Star
“A moving and elegant novel that lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned.” -Bookreporter.com
“A heartfelt examination of one man’s grief with a dark and intriguing mystery pulsating beneath the surface.” -John Searles, author of Strange But True and Boy Still Missing
“A gripping tour de force that leaves us stunned and breathless.” -Orlando Sentinel
“A bold and impressive debut . . . In a gripping tour de force by a writer supremely confident of his vision, Saul leaves us stunned and breathless, waiting for the next chapter in what one hopes will be a long and illustrious career.” -Orlando Sentinel
It’s the mystery of what happened to Danny that will carry you through this book . . .The ending is a reminder that we are heartbreakingly vulnerable through our children.” -Arizona Republic
“This first novel rivals Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Deep End of the Ocean as a probing exploration into the psychology of grief . . . a gorgeous literary thriller of the highest caliber.” -Booklist (starred review)
“Saul’s first novel is a powerful look at memory, family, and unexpected tragedy . . . recommended.” -Library Journal
“Saul controls his material with almost flawless skill. . . . A fine thriller, stocked with solid, effective characters and characterizations.” -Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star
“Quietly affecting . . . a debut with enormous depth of characterization and sympathy.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Powerful . . . [An] intense first achievement . . .difficult to put down” -Indianapolis Star
“One of the most satisfying and poignant novels readers will come across this year.” -Anniston Star
“Like an arrow to the heart, Jamie Saul’s page-turner novel sears through the psyche to hit bedrock.” -Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits
“LIGHT OF DAY is a haunting, beautifully-written and heart-wrenching debut.” -Harlan Coben, New York Times-bestselling author of Just One Look
“How does a novel become a work of classic literature? My betting is that this first novel by a new author will eventually be seen that way. . . . Anyone who wants in on the ground floor of that decision should grab the book now.” -Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska)
“Heartbreaking and well-written.” -Winston-Salem Journal
“From its poignant opening chapter to its breathtaking conclusion, nothing about this writer or book is less than extraordinary.” -Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Breakdown Lane
“Exhilarating. . . .One of those debut novels that delivers the goods with style and compassion.” -Washington Post Book World
“An intellectual thriller laced with subtle clues throughout its gracious prose.” -Chicago Tribune Books
“In this engaging novel, a Manhattan man finds romance—and a few other surprises—when he goes to settle the estate of an old friend.” (#1 Pick) -O, the Oprah Magazine
“[T]he story flows quickly...Saul’s writing and vocabulary are sophisticated and learned.” -YourHoustonNews.com