Booklist Review for 'Prairie Fever'

A Booklist starred review of ‘Prairie Fever’, coming May 2019 from Algonguin Books

Two sisters in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Oklahoma brave "coyote winds" to attend a country school, taught by a young man barely older and scarcely more educated than they are. Lorena is pretty and practical while Elise is dreamy and dramatic. They ride to school, blanket-bundled together, on their black horse, to whom Elise ascribes magical powers. On their snowy rides, they discuss their teacher, Gus McQueen, and argue about local incidents. After all, what else is there to do in this bleak and barren place? One argument propels Elise to seek answers in a blizzard, which maims her and threatens Lorena's and Gus’ lives as well. Elise's rash action foments a chain of events that makes the teacher abruptly choose her over Lorena, and creates a decades-lasting rift between the sisters. As an older woman, Elise admits that she always knew the truths behind the romantic attributions she lent to her world. Parker's (The Watery Part of the World, 2011) chimerical slipstream of a novel asks, Is it better to hew to that which is, or to see the world as you wish? Readers will surely be pulled deep into the strange and wild river of Elise's fanciful peregrinations.

— Joan Curbow