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Rowing in Eden: A Novel

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Pynch Lake is quiet nine months of the year but bursts into life each summer when the vacationers arrive. In the summer of 1965, year-round residents Harold and Peg Wahl find the world that once belonged to them is now being taken over by their older daughters, returned from college for the summer. Cool and self-possessed Rosamund is receiving the attention of the family friend who formerly courted Peg. Martie is filling the house with parties and houseguests of her own. No one in the family is paying much attention to the precocious thirteen-year-old Franny, who sets out to find a life of her own and, in the process, turns the Wahl family upside down.

In rich and lyrical language, Elizabeth Evans, author of the critically acclaimed novels Carter Clay and The Blue Hour, has created both a profound meditation and a haunting story about the promises and betrayals of love. And in Franny Wahl, Evans has created one of the most memorable and endearing characters in recent fiction.

352 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2000

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Elizabeth Evans

236 books11 followers

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Lauren.
230 reviews17 followers
August 30, 2020
A coming of age story in the midst of sisters and a small rough town. I could relate a lot to the character Franny with her head in books and writing poetry and fawning over older boys unbearably handsome and so out of reach. Then all the uncomfortable things that happen as you try to grow up and girls who betray you or turn on you,rather familiar. well written and the awkwardness of clothes which never seem right and hair that is wrong and the need to be apart from parents but need them at the same time.
Profile Image for Barbara.
347 reviews
August 11, 2016
Thirteen year old Franny lives in a dysfunctional family with a father who drinks, a mother who keeps up the family facade, and two older, college-age sisters. Everyone parties at the lake, everyone conforms outwardly to the sixties' culture. But underneath, no one is really living out the approved life. Franny lives a pretty exciting life for a young lady, and the author gets the tone of life at that time just right, I think. Franny's observations and colorful emotional life and descriptions held my attention.

Sister Martie: "Hey, I'm doing what you guys want, aren't I? I thought you were happy with me."
Profile Image for Tim.
771 reviews33 followers
February 22, 2014
A coming-of-age story about a teen girl is way outside my wheelhouse, but "Rowing in Eden" is a smart, generally involving read.

Pretty 13-year-old Franny Wahl finds herself somewhat invisible to the rest of her family but starts to realize the power and heartache of growing up. The backdrop is obviously a fictional version of the Iowa Great Lakes, which was one of the hooks that pulled me in. Nicely done.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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