Review of Prairie Fever in Publisher's Weekly

Parker (The Watery Part of the World) transports readers to the 19th-century Oklahoma frontier in this lovely story about the bond between two sisters. Elise and Lorena are inseparable, sharing everything as they come of age with absent and distracted parents in a small town. Elise is flighty and clever, always daydreaming and coming up with adventure stories that take them away from Oklahoma. Sixteen-year-old Lorena is intelligent and practical, keeping her younger sister’s education on track. But Lorena is almost finished with school and dreaming of her future, making Elise nervous that she will be left behind. Then Gus McQueen becomes the teacher at their rural school, and the girls are torn apart when both fall in love with him. After Gus proposes to Elise, the sisters go their separate ways: Lorena to college in Wyoming, Elise to Texas with Gus. During the novel’s second half, much of the narrative is delivered through correspondence between the sisters, revealing their regrets, mutual love, and longing for a different future. It’s only with time and forgiveness, slowly won through their letters, that the sisters reaffirm the bonds of their family. In the tradition of Katherine Ann Porter, Parker’s exceptional tale explores the power and strength of kinship on the harsh American frontier. (May)