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Publisher's Summary

Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks' sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness - and explores what happens when two powerful personalities, trapped at opposite ends of a social divide, begin to break the rules.Twenty-nine-year-old Vanessa Cole is a wild, stunningly beautiful heiress, the adopted only child of a highly regarded New York brain surgeon. Vanessa has been scandalously linked to any number of rich and famous men. But on the night of July 4, 1936, at her parents' country home in a remote Adirondack mountain enclave known as The Reserve, two events coincide to permanently alter the course of Vanessa's callow life: her father dies of a heart attack, and a mysteriously seductive local artist, Jordan Groves, lands his biplane in the pristine waters of the forbidden Upper Lake. Jordan's reputation has preceded him; he is internationally known as much for his exploits and conquests as for his paintings themselves, and, here in the midst of the Great Depression, his leftist loyalties seem suspiciously undercut by his wealth and elite clientele. But for all his worldly swagger, Jordan is as staggered by Vanessa's beauty and charm as she is by his defiant independence. He falls easy prey to her electrifying personality, but it is not long before he discovers that the heiress carries a dark, deeply scarring family secret. Emotionally unstable from the start, and further unhinged by her father's unexpected death, Vanessa begins to spin wildly out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. Moving from the secluded beauty of the Adirondack wilderness to the skies above war-torn Spain and Fascist Germany, The Reserve is a clever, incisive, and passionately romantic novel of suspense that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author's extraordinary repertoire.
©2008 Russell Banks; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Ms. on 02-15-08

Where was his editor?!?

Have you ever watched a really bad telenovela? This is worse. I listened on to the very end, in a sort of a stunned trance, not believing that any book, let alone one by Russell Banks, could be so bad! A hackneyed, melodramatic, and haphazardly organized mess revolving around two narcissistic trouble-makers.
And the narration? omigosh! Sometimes the reader sounded like he had made a bet he could narrate the book while holding the text upside down, at other times, he seemed strangely and inappropriately overexcited, using a voice one might use to shout through a wall to someone trapped in a burning building. I downloaded this book on impulse, because I have enjoyed Russell Banks in the past. What a mistake!!

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Bruce on 08-11-08

Much better than other reviews suggest

I read the other reviews here and went to remove the Reserve from my basket. Due to clumsiness on my behalf I ended up downloading the book. I was pleasantly impressed. The adaptation is fine - the narrator does different voices for different parts but these are perfectly decent. The other reviews made me dread a high-camp series of high pitched voices - far from it - and shame on those reviewers. The only reason I've not given it a higher rating is because I'm a very miserly scorer. The book is nowhere near as good as Cloudsplitter and I've scored it accordingly.

The Reserve was a good holiday listen - don't be put off by catty reviewers!

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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