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Publisher's Summary

Meg Mabry has spent her life with her back turned to her legendary family legacy. In the 1890s her great-grandmother Hannah Bass composed starkly revealing diaries of her life on the southwestern frontier, first as a Harvey Girl at the glamorous Montezuma Resort in New Mexico and later as the wife of brilliant, and often-absent, railway engineer Eliott Bass. A generation later, Hannah's daughter, Claudia Bass, renowned historian known to all as Bassie, staked her academic career and reputation on these vibrant accounts, editing and publishing them to great acclaim. Thanks to the journals and to the industry Bassie created around them, Hannah would forever be one of the most romantic and famous figures of southwestern history.

Meg, however, Bassie's granddaughter, finds the family lore oppressive. When an excavation on the old Bass family property beckons a now-elderly and viper-tongued Bassie back to the fabled land of her childhood, Meg only grudgingly consents to accompany her. Determined not to live under the shadow of her ancestry, Meg has never even read the journals. But when an unexpected discovery casts doubt on the history recorded in their pages and harbored in Bassie's memories, Meg finally succumbs to the allure of her great grandmother's story and ventures even deeper into Hannah's life to unlock the mystery at the journal's core.

Reminiscent of Carol Shields' The Stone Diaries and the novels of Anita Shreve, The Night Journal is an enthralling tale in which Indian ruins, majestic desert hotels, and the hardship and boldness of frontier life fit seamlessly with a modern-day story of coming to terms with loss, family secrets, and shattering truths that lie shrouded in memory.

©2006 Elizabeth Crook (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Crook's third novel...blends mystery, chick-lit-style romance, and historical fiction for a glimpse of the current and past American West." (Publishers Weekly)
"Warmly drawn....A multilayered narrative of impressive historical perspicacity, enriched by the author's loving attention to character." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

INTERESTING HISTORICALLY, BUT NEEDS EDITING

Would you listen to Night Journal again? Why?

NO, It was rather drawn out and could have been told in half the time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Didn't think there was sufficient character development to love or hate the characters.

What about Kimberly Farr’s performance did you like?

Nice voice

Who was the most memorable character of Night Journal and why?

Hannah...the other characters were frustratingly inept in their development.

Any additional comments?

The historical facts surrounding this novel were extremely interesting as well as the description of life as it was in the late 1800's.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to love it

I have two friends who swore this is the best book they've ever read, so I listened to all 18+ hours.

I found it plodding and repetitious and the bickering between the main characters was tiring. Enough already!

I made myself listen to the end so I could tell my friends I really did read it. In the end, the "mystery" ending was so predictable, I was annoyed with myself for hanging in there.

As a long time resident of New Mexico, I was disappointed in the historic value of this book. It's probably great if you're not from New Mexico but if you're looking for more, I'd caution you.

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  • cheno
  • Austin, Tx
  • 05-17-16

Well written, excellent, historical fiction.

Well written literature, excellent story woven together at the end. Based on historical facts. Highly recommend reading, listening to this book!