This saga of a sharecropper's daughter introduces Cassie Taylor as a spindly half-starved child in the driest Dust Bowl days of Eastern Oklahoma. Raised by a grandmother who believed real security came only with owning land, Cassie overcomes the hardships of poverty, ignorance and molestation (at the hands of her half-brother) to marry Jimmy Steele, the ne'er-do-well scion of the region's leading family. She is never truly accepted and leaves him to begin a new life in Dallas, where hard work and innate intelligence lead first to a law degree, then to considerable wealth and respect in the community. Success and social acceptance, however, can't fill the emptiness at the heart of Cassie's lonely life. Through her old friend, Dixon, who is also Jimmy's brother, Cassie buys the land she grew up on; she and Dixon become lovers but the demands of both their careers are too strong to keep them together. Until, that is, Cassie discovers she is pregnant. More misunderstandings serve to keep the two apart a while longer, yet in the end, although she has suffered from her own failings as well as from others', Cassie basically has it all. Elmblad's plot has it all tooincest, a forced abortion, swindles, blackmail and a few sensitive men to offset the power-hungry and the dolts. While the regional aspect of the tale is compelling, Cassie herself is not revealed in enough depth to make her sorrows or her triumphs of lasting interest to a reader. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (August 7)
Cassie Taylor, daughter of a drunken, weak-willed sharecropper, determines early in life that money and land are the the all-important ingredients to raise her out of poverty. With single-minded determination and despite a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Cassie survives the Depression and war years to become a successful lawyer and ultimately win, together with her other goals, the love of a decent, honorable man. The characters read like the cast of a B-movie: the poor but proud and courageous grandmother, the dull, cruel half-brother, the hypocritically charitable relatives, the all-powerful landowner and his playboy son, etc., yet Elmblad has imbued stock situations with a freshness that keeps the reader interested and entertained through the final page. Judith A. Gifford, Salve Regina Coll. Lib., Newport, R.I.