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The Mayor's Daughter: A Novel

326 pages5 hours


Here we have the history of a heart, set in the heart of Texas. According to novelist John Nichols, James Hoggard knows as much as anyone on earth about the small tender mercies and brutalities of people. He describes the human heart with a poignant lyricism and sometimes brutal hurtingand he understands well the demon soul. I have seldom read anyone so well-tuned to the rhythms of children and fractured families.” The Mayor's Daughter is set during the 1920s, in the north Texas oil-boom town of Kiowa Falls. Civilization is just beginning to overtake frontier chaos, and tender mercies” are in short supply. Only one generation away from the pioneers who first broke the soil, Kiowa Falls is surrounded by newly discovered oil fields. Yet the daughter of the town’s mayor, Ru-Marie is a well-read young Romantic and budding artist. Her tastes in love--her parents insist--are less well refined. And as they throw off their sham of civilization, a family war erupts--and with it frontier justice. The novel looks at events from several perspectives -- a first person present-tense account interspersed with remembrances from decades later, letters, an interview, and murder trial excerpts.

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