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Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend
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Michael Tillman, a tenured economics professor enjoying his role of academic maverick, feels an immediate attraction to Jellie Braden when she walks into a dean's reception with her husband. Their common past experiences in India provide a basis for friendship, which develops into a spiritual link; Michael realizes that he has waited a lifetime to meet Jellie. Within a year, their love intensifies, and the affair is consummated. Yet there is much Michael doesn't know about Jellie, and her sudden, unannounced visit to India prompts his quest for the secret of her past. The surreal-man-and-married-woman love affair is reminiscent of the author's current bestseller, The Bridges of Madison County ( LJ 3/1/92), but Waller economically imbues his plot and characters with life's truths in a manner many will find enthralling. Recommended for most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/93.-- Kimberly Martin, Washington Univ. Law Lib., St. Louis

Only little old ladies with blue permed hair need be wary of Waller's second foray into fiction: this time around, his saccharine tale of middle-aged lovers gets to sex scenes right away. When Michael Tillman, an Iowa economics professor with a rebel streak, first lays eyes on his colleague's wife, Jellie Branden, he immediately wonders ``how it would feel to grab a big handful of her hair and bend her over the dean's kitchen table.'' A few pages later--still in the first chapter--he is fantasizing about stripping Jellie naked and flying to the Seychelles. Though it takes a while to consummate their passion, Jellie is an iconoclast too: like Mike, she smokes and wears jeans to faculty parties, and she is pretty good in the sex fantasy department herself. But Jellie has a Dark Secret (no surprise to the reader when it is revealed) and Michael must go tearing off to India to try to locate her when she runs away from Cedar Bend. Waller's attempt at academic satire is a dud, but he renders the Indian settings quite effectively. An encounter with a tiger is just the sort of sentimental flourish that fans of The Bridges of Madison County will get teary-eyed over; and there's even a coy reference to Robert Kincaid to evoke the earlier novel. To the main question--will this book please Waller's fans?--the answer is a resounding Yes. Movie rights to 20th Century Fox; BOMC main selection; QPB alternate; author tour. (Nov.)

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