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The lives of two disparate women—a single mother working hard to make ends meet and a young figure skater at the top of her game—entwine in an unforgettable novel of warmth, depth, and wisdom.
Izzy and her daughter Quinn have been on the move for all of Quinn’s nine years. Izzy works the fields as a fruit picker, following the produce north and south through the growing season. When they reach a struggling pear orchard in the Sacramento River Delta, Izzy intends it to be just another way station in their nomadic lives. But the orchard and its kindly owners capture Quinn’s heart, and Izzy briefly forgets that she’s running from a past that still haunts her—until a strange incident brings national media attention to the Delta.
Seemingly a world away, Karen is a rising young star in figure skating with an edgy, daring new partner. Nathan is everything her old teammate wasn’t: sexy, dangerous, and extremely headstrong. As Karen nears her eighteenth birthday, the partners find themselves on the world stage—and the simmering intensity between them finally erupts.
As each woman struggles with a sudden thrust into the spotlight, their narratives become more intertwined—until Izzy’s past and Karen’s future finally collide.
Delta Girls is a novel ignited by secrets — secrets that propel the novel to its wild climax. Brandeis proves an excellent guide into largely unfamiliar worlds. Most satisfying of all are her descriptions of the inner landscape of fierce maternal love.
Readers will fall in love with the women of Delta Girls and cheer at the choices they make to keep their children safe. Brandeis transports the reader into California’s verdant Delta country, where whales make wrong turns, where orchards bloom and must be picked in a matter of days, and reveals the lives of laborers and the industry behind them. I loved this book and wanted it to never end.
Best Books of 2010: Fiction
There’s something spirited and satisfying in Gayle Brandeis’ prose. She pushes at language with a poet’s heart and skill, leaving us breathless and always wishing for more… [Delta Girls is] a rich and gorgeous ride with two very different women: a single mom making a living as a migrant fruit picker and a figure skater, intent on the heights. A series of unlikely events cause their two worlds to collide, with unexpected results. This is not a plot that does well with over-explanation. Brandeis’ books are all about the journey. And this? It’s a glorious one: well worth the effort.