Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks' sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness-and explores what happens when two powerful personalities begin to break the rules.
29-year-old Vanessa Cole is a wild, stunningly beautiful heiress, scandalously linked to any number of rich and famous men. But at her parents' country home in a remote Adirondack Mountain enclave known as The Reserve, two events coincide to permanently alter the course of Vanessa's callow life: her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, and a mysteriously seductive local artist, Jordan Groves, lands his biplane in the forbidden Upper Lake...
Internationally known as much for his exploits and conquests as for his paintings themselves, Jordan's leftist loyalties seem suspiciously undercut by his wealth and upper-crust clientele. But for all his worldly swagger, Jordon is as staggered by Vanessa's beauty and charm as she is by his defiant independence. He falls easy prey to her electrifying personality, but it is not long before he discovers that the heiress carries a dark, deeply scarring family secret. Emotionally unstable from the start, and further unhinged by her father's unexpected death, Vanessa begins to spin wildly out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. The Reserve is a clever, incisive, and passionately romantic novel of suspense that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author's extraordinary repertoire.