The First Warm Evening of the Year: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

"The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a burst of bittersweet among the winter branches . . ."

And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the complex dynamics of family and friendship.

Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends, an undemanding lover devoted to...

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The First Warm Evening of the Year: A Novel

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Overview

"The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a burst of bittersweet among the winter branches . . ."

And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the complex dynamics of family and friendship.

Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends, an undemanding lover devoted to her own career, and his wise brother, a psychiatrist who is the only one who sees and understands him completely—just the way Geoffrey wants it. On an ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York. An old friend has named him the executor of her estate. Twenty years ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other's confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate ways. Now, she's reached out of the past to ask him a final favor. Laura's death has also brought her brother, Simon, to Geoffrey's doorstep. With his sister gone, Simon has no one but her old friend Geoffrey with whom to settle past grievances.

With Simon in tow, Geoffrey travels up to Laura's hometown—the place she chose to live her final years—where he meets Marian Ballantine. A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage, and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot about Geoffrey. Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though he's flattered, he's also thrown off balance. From the moment he first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive, plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool, compartmentalized life. What Marian knows is that life comes with no guarantees, no promises of lasting happiness, and although she finds herself unsettled by this persistent, compelling man, she's unwilling to trade her hard-won, quotidian existence for an indefinite future. Faced with the decision to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the familiar, they will both have to discover the courage it takes to tumble into the abyss of love.

The First Warm Evening of the Year is a gripping and evocative novel that resonates on every page with the joys and pains of being alive. It is a novel that more than satisfies the promise of the author's debut, Light of Day, about which the Indianapolis Star said, "Saul's ability to create deep and interesting characters is a strength that no doubt will surface time and again in future works," and prompted Bookreporter.com to praise Saul's "sensitivity and rare understanding of the human psyche."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This talky, intimate look at grief and lost relationships begins with the death of Laura Wells, a music teacher in a small upstate New York town. Geoffrey Tremont, her old college friend, is enlisted to execute her will, despite not having seen her in decades. When he travels to her hometown, he meets her best friend, Marian Ballantine, who is still consumed with grief over the loss of her husband 10 years before. They’re immediately attracted to each other, but as each is involved with someone else, they have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice—and how vulnerable they can be—in order to get together. In Saul’s latest novel (after Light of Day), characters negotiate the processes of loving, grieving, and healing in different ways, but they do so often in long conversations overburdened with psychoanalysis, making for difficult going at times. Still, there’s much to make this novel compelling. Agent: Joy Harris. (May)
Shelf Awareness
“A beautifully rendered, psychologically astute novel about the risks—and joys—of love and loving.”
Booklist
"This first novel rivals Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Deep End of the Ocean as a probing exploration into the psychology of grief . . . a gorgeous literary thriller of the highest caliber."
YourHoustonNews.com
“[T]he story flows quickly...Saul’s writing and vocabulary are sophisticated and learned.”
Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska)
“How does a novel become a work of classic literature? My betting is that this first novel by a new author will eventually be seen that way. . . . Anyone who wants in on the ground floor of that decision should grab the book now.”
Arizona Republic
It’s the mystery of what happened to Danny that will carry you through this book . . .The ending is a reminder that we are heartbreakingly vulnerable through our children.”
Bookreporter.com
“A moving and elegant novel that lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned.”
Washington Post Book World
“Exhilarating. . . .One of those debut novels that delivers the goods with style and compassion.”
Indianapolis Star
“Powerful . . . [An] intense first achievement . . .difficult to put down”
Winston-Salem Journal
“Heartbreaking and well-written.”
Booklist (starred review)
“This first novel rivals Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Deep End of the Ocean as a probing exploration into the psychology of grief . . . a gorgeous literary thriller of the highest caliber.”
Anniston Star
“One of the most satisfying and poignant novels readers will come across this year.”
Orlando Sentinel
“A bold and impressive debut . . . In a gripping tour de force by a writer supremely confident of his vision, Saul leaves us stunned and breathless, waiting for the next chapter in what one hopes will be a long and illustrious career.”
Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star
“Saul controls his material with almost flawless skill. . . . A fine thriller, stocked with solid, effective characters and characterizations.”
Chicago Tribune Books
“An intellectual thriller laced with subtle clues throughout its gracious prose.”
the Oprah Magazine O
“In this engaging novel, a Manhattan man finds romance—and a few other surprises—when he goes to settle the estate of an old friend.” (#1 Pick)
John Searles
“A heartfelt examination of one man’s grief with a dark and intriguing mystery pulsating beneath the surface.”
Sena Jeter Naslund
“Like an arrow to the heart, Jamie Saul’s page-turner novel sears through the psyche to hit bedrock.”
Harlan Coben
“LIGHT OF DAY is a haunting, beautifully-written and heart-wrenching debut.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard
“From its poignant opening chapter to its breathtaking conclusion, nothing about this writer or book is less than extraordinary.”
Booklist on THE FIRST WARM EVENING OF THE YEAR
“Fans of gentle reads will enjoy the strong focus on relationships and the slow build between Marian and Geoffrey.”
O: the Oprah Magazine
“In this engaging novel, a Manhattan man finds romance—and a few other surprises—when he goes to settle the estate of an old friend.” (#1 Pick)
Kirkus Reviews
In Saul's second novel (Light of Day, 2005), a 40-ish man faces the lack of passion in his life when he becomes the executor of a college friend's estate. Geoffrey lives in Manhattan where he earns a living doing voice-overs and carries on a no-strings relationship with his girlfriend. One day he gets a call from a lawyer; his old friend Laura has died and he's been named executor of her small estate. When Geoffrey knew Laura, he was at Columbia and she was at Juilliard. She moved to Paris with her husband, fellow jazz musician Steve, but when he died nine years ago, she moved back to her upstate New York hometown and taught music. Geoffrey drives up there and soon meets her best friend Marian, who also happens to be a widow. Narrator Geoffrey announces on the second page that he has fallen in love with Marian at first sight. The only problem is that Marian has a boyfriend she doesn't even pretend she loves. Eliot runs the local hardware store and doesn't like to discuss feelings (readers will sympathize after hundreds of pages of Geoffrey's navel gazing). Marian uses their relationship to avoid feeling the kind of passion she had with her husband Buddy. Instead, since Buddy's death, she has been clinging to his memory and her grief. She and Laura bonded as "the young widows." It is less clear why Geoffrey has avoided emotional commitment, although he and his gay psychiatrist brother Alex certainly discuss their avoidance enough--at least until Alex meets and falls immediately in love with Laura's wayward brother Simon, whom Laura and Geoffrey conspired to keep from attending her wedding long ago. By then Geoffrey and Marian are talking nonstop about their emotions. For a guy who claims to be out of touch with his capacity for feelings, Geoffrey is the most touchy-feeling fictional hero since Oliver Barrett IV, the main character in Erich Segal's bestseller Love Story. This talky love story will turn the most romantic reader into a curmudgeon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062101327
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 288,926
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jamie M. Saul was born and raised in New York City. He has written for various magazines, including People and Playboy. A two-time guest professor at Yale University, he was the recipient of the Poynter Fellowship. He is the author of the novel Light of Day. He lives in a small town in the Hudson Valley.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Maybe this rating is unfair but I had to quit this book half way

    Maybe this rating is unfair but I had to quit this book half way through, got so tired of all the introspection & psychoanalysis

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Looking at the cover of this book, almost beckons the reader to

    Looking at the cover of this book, almost beckons the reader to open it's cover and discover a wonderful story inside. However, for me this wasn't the case. It's unusual after having read so many books during the last three years to find one you can't quite connect with but can't really explain why. This is one of those for me, however it may not be for you. This is a novel about two characters drawn together by an unusual set of circumstances.

    Geoffrey Tremont, currently living among the busy life in New York among his sophisticated friends, and a bit too organized for me as a man in a relationship with Rita, whom he claims he loves but doesn't really think about her much when they are apart. Does that mean they aren't really in love or simply not right for each other. It seems they are both very content with their individual lives but have issues when it comes to compromising ways that they would each have to give things up if they were to be successful at their relationship.

    Geoffrey gets a break from this relationship when he is called as an executor of an old friends will. This shows the reader throughout the book, how the impact we make in relationships we get involved with will and can have lasting results in those people's lives, something we should consider with everyone we meet. Laura Welles was someone from Geoffrey's past, two years ago, from college who asks him to deal with her estate and to send the funds to the music program at the college she attended.

    This brings Geoffrey into contact with the only remaining relative of Laura's, her brother Simon. Together the two of them work together to try and make sense of their lives at this point and to find a way to sell Laura's home in Shady Grove. When they both arrive, Geoffrey encounters his possible soul mate, who is also grieving a recent loss, Marian Ballantine, who seems to know Geoffrey based on the conversations she used to have with Laura. Geoffrey seems convinced that Marian can change him in ways that he wasn't willing to compromise with Rita over. However Geoffrey will soon learn that the situations that Marian has gone through in life will also make her a victim of circumstance and has changed her in ways she may not be willing to give up. It's those qualities that have enabled her to survive up to this point.

    Will they both be able to find a way to get past the barriers they both have put in place based on the circumstances life has dealt them or will they come to realize that some people will never possess the ability to change, even if something good comes into their life they've been waiting their whole life for?

    You'll need to read, The First Warm Evening of the Year by Jamie M. Saul to find out what happens. I received this novel compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I have to say I'd rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars. I just could not connect to the characters well enough to truly care about what happens to them. Perhaps its because they were too set in their ways or just had to many issues to deal with in life, that they were content to be who they were. It just didn't resonate with me, even though the writing is well thought out and the premise sounding interesting as well as the cover draws you in. I know others might be drawn to this story but it just didn't work for me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    I thought this book would have more of a story, but have found m

    I thought this book would have more of a story, but have found myself getting angry with the characters because of the dialogue which drags on and on and I can not really get the meaning of what the Geoffery is trying to say. Very disappointing at best. I am 50 pages from the end and I am going to stop right there with this story. Too many other good books to read to waste time on this one.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    book recommended

    store line I did like but over written; store oould have finished at 100 pages less. But worth the read for summer.

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    Posted January 30, 2013

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    Posted July 26, 2012

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    Posted December 23, 2013

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    Posted April 8, 2013

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