Synopses & Reviews
The award-winning, widely praised author of Disappearing Ingenue
is at the top of her form in this witty, wickedly funny novel about a romance writer whose real life begins to outpace the wildest flights of her imagination.
After one failed marriage and numerous dating disasters, Prudence True Parker teaches Advanced Personal Journey at a community college in Arizona. Prudence's own personal journey has led to a mountain of debts, and she is beginning to feel desperate. Salvation comes at the local library, where she meets Digby Deeds (alias Mildred Crawley), the author of the Savage Passion romance series. Nearing the end of his life, Digby is looking for someone to keep Savage Passion alive and offers Prudence the final forty plots of the wildly popular series. Moved more by financial desperation than literary aspiration, she reluctantly accepts the bequest.
Just after taking on the project, Prudence's friendly local psychic foresees the arrival of a romantic stranger in her life. The prediction comes true with startling speed: At a Native American charity event in Oklahoma, Prudence is swept off her feet by a mysterious young Comanche artist, Ray Chasing Hawk. A month later, Ray shows up on her doorstep. Fired by the irresistible desires their affair awakens, Prudence begins writing her first Native American romance. Real life gives her plenty of inspiration for her fictional plot and her home fills to overflowing with visitors, including Native American activists, medicine men, and wolves. In a hilarious, totally satisfying conclusion, the pieces of her life fall into place at the annual Romance Writers Convention in Houston, Texas.
Smartly written and laugh-out-loud funny, Late Bloomer is a high-spirited tale of romance, captivity, and savage love women of all ages will relish.
"[A] brilliant mix of romance and satire....Pritchard's quicksilver ability to blend biting social/political commentary with a rueful analysis of relationships makes this lesson in true romance an absolutely sage-scented delight." Publishers Weekly
"The quirkiness feels forced, the sex dreary. Pritchard fans will be disappointed." Kirkus Reviews
"Pritchard overloads her otherwise wily tale with trivia, but her shrewd humor, canny insights, colorful characters, and intriguing plot prevail. Is this a romance? Yes, although by critiquing the genre, it transcends it." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"[Pritchard's] in-depth observations on such a variety of topics would serve the essay structure well or fully sustain a story collection but are not as suited to the longer form, in which lengthy meanderings interrupt the narrative thread without furthering the plot." Library Journal
"When and under what circumstances does a woman come into her own? Late Bloomer will delight and horrify its readers as they see their own quests for authenticity mirrored in the life of Prudence True Parker, a two-time writer of romance novels. What can be learned from the ritual suffering of an androgynous Comanche warrior? Melissa Pritchard's latest novel dances out the answers in prose of strong originality vivid, bold, and wickedly witty. A novel that illuminates our passages as lovers, daughters, mothers, and friends, Late Bloomer is an amazing romp of language and hard-won wisdom." Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Four Spirits and Ahab's Wife
"Late Bloomer is a full-bodied education in the spiritual and romantic condition of our brand-new century. Pritchard's characters channel the silly, the sublime, the eternal, the suburban, the mythic a core sample, in short, of a set of interwoven and fascinating lives. I love how beautifully, seductively, hilariously, tenderly this writer blends genres to bestow on the world this new hybrid elixir." Antonya Nelson, author of Female Troubles and Living to Tell
"Does love make sense? This book may have all four answers to that question. In Late Bloomer, Melissa Pritchard elegantly, effusively does what she has always done channel the ages, this time bringing an intense corner of the modern West alive through the dear lens of Prudence True Parker, a thoroughly modern woman in a world larger than life with prose to match. There is a sharp literary pleasure on every page of this ebullient up-and-down tour of one woman's search for love and the sensible balance between power and submission." Ron Carlson, author of The Speed of Light and A Kind of Flying
"An oddball, oddly moving coming-of-age (young, middle, old) novel that reads as if Shakespeare, Fielding, O'Hara, and Geronimo ravished the spiteful child of Danielle Steele to produce it. Read it, you'll see what I mean. Pritchard is a brilliant wordsmith." Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury and Last Days of the Dog-Men
After one failed marriage and numerous dating disasters, Prudence True Parker begins a journey for salvation. In a hilarious conclusion, the pieces of Parker's life fall into place at the annual Romance Writers convention in Texas. Smartly written, this is a high-spirited tale of romance, captivity, and savage love women of all ages will relish.
About the Author
Melissa Pritchard is the author of three short story collections Disappearing Ingenue, The Instinct for Bliss, and Spirit Seizures and two novels, Phoenix and Selene of the Spirits. Pritchard was awarded a Pushcart Prize for "Funktionslust," which appeared in The Paris Review. Her story "Salve Regina" was included in Prize Stories 2000: The O. Henry Awards. Among numerous other awards, she has received the Flannery O'Connor Award, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and a Howard Foundation Fellowship from Brown University. She is Director of the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University and is on the faculty of Spalding University.