“Complex and daring.... One of those books that readers wish had a sequel.” -Jane Smiley on Jetta Carleton’s The Moonflower Vine
The time: 1941, at the cusp of America’s entry into World War II. The place: southwest Missouri, on the edge of the Ozark Mountains. A young single woman named Allen Liles has taken a job as a junior college teacher in a small town, although she dreams of living in New York City, of dancing at recitals, of absorbing the bohemian delights of the Village. Then she encounters two young men: George, a lanky, carefree spirit, and Toby, a dark-haired, searching soul with a wary look in his eyes. Soon the three strike up an after-school friendship, bantering and debating over letters, ethics, and philosophy - innocently at first, but soon in giddy flirtation - until Allen and one of the young men push things too far, and the quiet happiness she has struggled so hard to discover is thrown into jeopardy.