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Written with an ear for idiom, an eye for comedy and a heart that delights in the graces and foibles of its two protagonists, this unlikely love story unites April Ruth Bates, 16-year-old sister of the town’s two classiest prostitutes, with Foster Williams, a Chesapeake Bay bridge-builder twice her age.
April Ruth, as detached from her sisters’ carryings-on as a farm girl is from the barnyard, preserves an untouchedness so endearing that when Foster takes her to the sea for the first time her rapture becomes the reader’s. The two fall tenderly and believably in love, the mature man no less overcome by the wonder of it than the teenager. Apart from the fact that Foster earns their living, cooks their meals, cleans their house — in short, turns April into a privileged child — bliss abounds until the day their lame dog Vinnie is killed. Then, with Foster thunderous and accusatory, April runs away, gets a job and accepts the favors of another man. That the fated lovers come together again is the reader’s hope, and eventually, delight.