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Hartnett (Surrender) introduces an unlikely protagonist for a one-of-a-kind love story. When 75-year-old Matilda Victoria Adelaide, or Maddy, comes home to find a mysterious boy awaiting her, she thinks it "odd, but also somehow flattering, as when a stray cat chooses your house to call home." She tells him about her youth and about falling in love. Thus begins a tale that revels in profound questions ("How... does one craft sturdy happiness out of something as important, as complicated, as unrepeatable and as easily damaged as a life?"; "What is the world's most beautiful thing?"; is life "settling for what you can get, if you can't have what you really want?") and Maddy's tireless pursuit of their answers as they unfold through her relationship with Feather, a youth who captures her heart so totally that she is forever changed. Those who enjoy fables or magical realism will be spellbound by this redemptive story of a search for love, love lost and love (of a sort) found again. If the emotional distance created by the narrative frame proves a barrier for other readers, the exquisite prose may yet hold them. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.