by Bill Roorbach
FINALIST FOR THE 2014 KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION
“A flat-out funny, sexy, and poignant romantic thriller.”*
They’re calling for the “Storm of the Century,” and in western Maine, that means something. So Eric closes his law office early and heads to the grocery store. But when an unkempt and seemingly unstable young woman in line comes up short on cash, a kind of old-school charity takes hold of his heart—twenty bucks and a ride home; that’s the least he can do.
Trouble is, Danielle doesn’t really have a home. She’s squatting in a cabin deep in the woods: no electricity, no plumbing, no heat. Eric, with troubles—and secrets—of his own, tries to walk away but finds he can’t. She’ll need food, water, and firewood, and that’s just to get her through the storm: there’s a whole long winter ahead.
Resigned to help, fending off her violent mistrust of him, he gets her set up, departs with relief, and climbs back to the road, but—winds howling, snow mounting—he finds his car missing, phone inside. In desperation, he returns to the cabin. Danielle’s terrified, then merely enraged. And as the storm intensifies, these two lost souls are forced to ride it out together.
Intensely moving, frequently funny, The Remedy for Love is a harrowing story about the truths we reveal when there is no time or space for artifice.
“One of the best novels of this or any year.” —*David Abrams, author of Fobbit
MY REVIEW: Once you start reading "The Remedy for Love", you will literally be compelled to see it through to the outcome. Author Bill Roorbach has created an unusually involving contemporary tale, a romance in spite of itself, which is also a curious, cautionary adventure. In the small, rural town of Woodchurch, Maine, Eric is an attorney with a moderate law practice. He cooks, savors his food and wine, and waits for his big-city wife, Alison, to make increasingly infrequent visits as their marriage sputters to an end. An occasional flicker of heat here and there has kept the spark burning far longer than it should. A massive winter storm is approaching Woodchurch just as Eric awaits Alison's tentative arrival. He prepares by stocking up on foods to appeal and appease his neglectful spouse. When a bedraggled young woman in the checkout line ahead of him is unable to pay for all of his purchases, Eric helps to pay her bill. A smart mind ruled by a kind heart, Eric also helps the woman, Danielle, make her way safely home to a rustic cabin near the river. Through circumstances created by his good intentions, which include having his vehicle towed away, Eric find himself with no other shelter than the dilapidated cabin of the defensive and delusional Danielle. Being snowed in with sharp-tongued, strange woman is a far cry from being snug in his own home, making his marvelous meal, and anticipating the arrival of his absentee wife. Danielle is erratic, disheveled, and obviously a member of the walking-wounded. However, as time passes and Danielle cleans up, enjoys Eric's impromptu improvisations with food and drink, she shows flashes of character which attract Eric, and he finds himself drawn to her in unexpected ways. As the storm builds and burgeons around them, they form an uneasy alliance, and awareness of each other blooms between them. However, there secrets swirling among the storm, and the forces of nature are coming down on the little cabin. Soon, the fight for survival will push all else aside, and the danger of the moment becomes far more urgent than the questions of the past and the hopes of the future. "The Remedy for Love" is the perfect read for a cold, cuddled in the house weekend--just don't let yourself get snowed in.
Review Copy Gratis Library Thing
Bill Roorbach's newest novel is The Remedy for Love, released in October 2014 from Algonquin Books. Life Among Giants, also from Algonquin, is in development for a multi-year series at HBO, and won the 2014 Maine Literary Award in Fiction. Big Bend: Stories has just been re-released by Georgia in its Flannery O'Connor Award series. Temple Stream is soon to be re-released by Down East Books. Bill is also the author of the romantic memoir SUMMERS WITH JULIET, the novel THE SMALLEST COLOR, the essay collection INTO WOODS. The tenth anniversary edition of his craft book, WRITING LIFE STORIES, is used in writing programs around the world. His short fiction has been published in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and dozens of other magazines, journals, and websites, and has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts, and won an O. Henry Prize. He lives in western Maine where he writes full time.