Luminous, complex novel of interrelationships.
Jane Rule's earlier The Desert of the Heart and This Is Not For You were about the anything but sisterly and not st) gay liberation. Here, in a small town, there are mixed sexual persuasions and the couple of men are definitely uncertain. And even though a number of people relate, very little happens. There's Amelia Larson, primarily, living alone and crippled in the house where her dominant sister Beatrice died - leaving diaries which she reads to her sorrow; and there are the girls, all pregnant, who come and go, latterly the very lively Agate who takes over the household while she's there and tries to emancipate a sexually uneasy young cousin; and down in the town a banker who would like to bring himself to the point of marrying a spinster librarian and several youthfully middle-aged women of speculative interest in each other. In the cycle from life (Agate's baby) to death (Amelia's) this seems exorbitant in terms of loneliness, guilt, failure although much of it is implied rather than specified. They suffer and the assumption is that women will go along with this kind of sentimental agit-prop. (Kirkus Reviews)