A fine yarn of hardship, love, and loss, Bittersweet Country is the second novel from Long ( Jenny's Mountain , St. Martin's, 1987) dealing with the present-day West. Gifted Gracelyn Heath marries young Alex MacNair and moves to his new sheep ranch in Montana. In this modern wilderness they experience severe challenges, and Gracelyn finds the power within herself to succeed against all odds. Long's three-dimensional, fascinating, and uplifting characters jump off the page. Particulars of sheep ranching will capture readers' curiosity and interest without putting them to sleep. The story is surprisingly tender and thought-provoking, and the pace rarely lags. Readers will think about Gracelyn, Alex, and Emmy long after the book is finished. A sure hit for most fiction collections.-- Bettie Spi vey Cormier, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, N.C.