From Publishers Weekly: One of the major satisfactions of this memorable novel is the forthright way in which Hendrie presents her flawed, insecure and error-prone characters, while sustaining the reader's empathy for them.
The heroine, 29-year-old Rose Devonic, is her own worst enemy. Impulsive, stubborn, and daring the world to hit her again, Rose is at heart desolate and afraid. Her single mother was an outsider in the tiny community of Queduro, N.M., most of whose inhabitants create embroidery for the tourist trade. When Rose's entrepreneurial uncle had the temerity to challenge established custom by carving and selling huge wooden Indians, the locals closed ranks against them.
At 16, Rose was the only survivor of an accident that killed the rest of her family, and since that time the town has demonstrated its desire to see the last of her. Feisty and defensive, Rose belatedly "goes on the needle" and learns how to devise heirloom embroidery from crusty old motel owner Bird Pinkston, who offers shelter to his young friend during the snowbound winter months (during the summer, she lives in her car). Frank Doby, Rose's childhood companion and later, her lover, tries to reach out to her, too, but he is now a symbol of authority as town sheriff, and married besides, and Rose spurns his help.
When Bird has a stroke and his disagreeable sister Alice, in the early stages of Alzheimer's, returns to Queduro and tells Rose to get lost, Rose finds herself homeless, penniless and looking at a bleak future. Eventually, tragic events, self-fulfilling prophecy and Rose's own bad decisions lead to a frantic--and darkly comic--road trip that will have readers holding their breaths. Rose seems to be hurtling toward disaster, and kind-hearted Frank, belatedly facing his own weaknesses and missteps, may be too late to prevent a terrible outcome.
Hendrie proves herself an accomplished writer, showing how Rose, Frank, Bird and Alice are each lost souls desperate for connection. Her fascinating descriptions of the embroidery trade are original in fiction, and her sharply etched picture of Queduro dispels any illusion of small-town warmth and neighborliness. In the end, it is perhaps the contrast between Rose's tart tongue and her vulnerable heart that grants a special dimension to this engrossing tale of how love, compassion and moral courage finally triumph over daunting circumstances.