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The arsonist
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Frankie Rowley (Female), Relief worker, Has returned to her hometown after being gone in East Africa for fifteen years; that same night a fire destroys a house up the road, then another, and another; begins an affair with the editor of the local paper
Small town life
Love affairs
Falling in love
Family relationships
Alzheimer's disease
Class conflict
New Hampshire - New England (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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  Library Journal Review

Frankie Rowley is at loose ends. After 15 years of aid work in Africa-15 years of countless intense, go-nowhere relationships-she returns to her family's summer compound in Pomeroy, NH, one summer in the late 1990s to recharge and figure out next steps. Rest and relaxation are not in the cards for, as Frankie quickly learns, her father is losing himself to dementia and her resentful but duty-bound mother needs help. Bud Jacobs, who fled two failed marriages and his high-intensity Washington life as a journalist for the Denver Post, has been editor and publisher of the Pomeroy Union for the past three years. He is thriving in Pomeroy, well liked by those who appreciate the job he is doing on the paper. These two intelligent souls, much better at the professional than the personal, are thrown together when, restless and jetlagged on her first night home, Frankie may have witnessed an elusive arsonist fleeing from the first in a terrifying string of fires that attack the homes of the summer people and Bud covers the stories. Verdict As the fires and the passionate attraction between Bud and Frankie burn hotter, Miller works her usual storytelling magic, immersing her readers in the powerful cocktail of fear and uncertainty-whether that mixture cracks a once-tight community or threatens the human heart. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor. MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

A small New Hampshire town provides the backdrop for Miller's (The Senator's Wife) provocative novel about the boundaries of relationships and the tenuous alliance between locals and summer residents when a crisis is at hand. After years of being an aid worker in Africa, Frankie Rowley returns to the idyllic Pomeroy, N.H., summer home to which her parents have retired. But all is not well in Pomeroy, where a spate of house fires leaves everyone wary and afraid. Frankie, who may have seen the arsonist her first night home, contemplates her ambiguous future and falls for Bud Jacobs, a transplant who has traded the hustle and bustle of covering politics in D.C. for the security of smalltown life, buying the local newspaper. Meanwhile, Sylvia, Frankie's mother, becomes concerned about her husband's increasingly erratic behavior, fearful that it's a harbinger of Alzheimer's. Liz, Frankie's married sister, has her hands full dealing with their parents while Frankie's been overseas. Miller, a pro at explicating family relationships as well as the fragile underpinnings of mature romance, brilliantly draws parallels between Frankie's world in Africa and her life in New Hampshire, and explores how her characters define what "home" means to them and the lengths they will go to protect it. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator's Wife , a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.<br> <br> Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come home--home to the small New Hampshire village of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Then another house burns, and another, always the houses of the summer people. In a town where people have never bothered to lock their doors, social fault lines are opened, and neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion. Against this backdrop of menace and fear, Frankie begins a passionate, unexpected affair with the editor of the local paper, a romance that progresses with exquisite tenderness and heat toward its own remarkable risks and revelations.<br> <br> Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Miller--a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, about how and where one ought to live, about what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.
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