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Sweetwater by Roxana Robinson
In Sweetwater, Isabel Green is a widow in her 40s who agrees to marry Paul as a way to put the death of her first husband behind her and move on with her life. Paul takes her to the Sweetwater Lodge in the Adirondacks which his family has owned for generations and where his parents still live. Isabel works as a water quality expert for an environmental group and is awed by the beauty of the place. The mountains, though, have been suffering through drought and the dry conditions make the area a tinderbox. Against this backdrop, Roxana Robinson weaves the story of Isabel's first marriage, Paul's difficult relationships with his family, and the struggle to find love and meaning in their new marriage. Paul's brother, Whitney, arrives at Sweetwater and provides the spark to the combustible mixture, both literal and figurative. Sweetwater has received high praise from the reviewers with the Los Angeles Times saying, "Like the precious water Isabel shepherds, the human spirit is a marvel to behold, and fragile. Robinson frames this vista with an expertly constructed narrative. And when she pulls off the ending with breathtaking skill, the effect is utterly satisfying."