A dazzling story with profoundly human characters and beautiful settings
Blackwell North Amer Jeronimo Smith, seventy-seven, is having a particularly bad day, and he needs the poems of William Butler Yeats to get him through it. But the book has just been checked out of the Santa Barbara Public Library. When he accosts the widow who has the book, he meets the woman who will become the love of his life. They're an unlikely pair - Jeronimo a retired janitor, Emily cultured and wealthy - and both are coping with troublesome adult children and the indignities of aging. Jeronimo courts Emily by mowing her lawn, and when he impetuously invites her to join him on a road trip to Yellowstone, she stuns herself by agreeing. Their elopement is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and the setting for a bitter-sweet love story about the poignant intensity of old age. The two must find a way to balance family responsibilities against their own needs, and the impulse to stay close to what is wild in themselves despite pressures to age "sensibly."