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Marianne’s Pick of the Week: The Trackers

Hello all – I am your newest Cook blogger. I have always been a reader, getting my first library card at age eight when my reading obsession was Mozart biographies.  As I have grown so have my reading interests which now range from mystery and romance to science and historical fiction. I like it all.  

My Pick of the Week is The Trackers by Charles Frazier who is best known for his epic novel, Cold Mountain which was made into an Academy Award-winning film.  

The Trackers is the story of artist Val Welch, who via the New Deal Program to beautify public buildings, is sent to Dawes, Wyoming to create a mural in the Post Office. Val becomes a guest at the home of rancher/art collector/aspiring politician John Long and his wife Eve, a former rail rider and country singer. As Val settles in with the Longs and his project he falls in love with Eve. This is a story rife with complex characters set during a time that feels as politically polarized as our current day. It shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  

After a dinner with some prospective political allies, Eve flees with one of John’s most valuable paintings, a small Renoir. Val is sent to track Eve, and we get to tag along with him on his trip – first to Florida to find Eve’s family, then out to Seattle and San Francisco Hoovervilles, back to Wyoming and finally back out to the west coast. We learn about Eve’s life before and during her marriage to John and why she felt that running away was her only option.  

When Val finally finds Eve singing in a nightclub in San Francisco the real trouble and questions begin – did Eve divorce her first husband; will John Long be appointed Wyoming senator; does Val really love Eve, and can they make their ill-fated romance work? Frazier tells fills the tale with descriptions of American landscapes, works of art and love during the Great Depression.  

If you like your stories filled with complicated characters, wide-ranging story lines and bucolic settings this is one for you or if you enjoyed: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis, or The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.  

Photo credit: Mallory Cash

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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