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Leaving Eden

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eBook published by Ballantine Books (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
“The promise of beauty—the kind of real, personal beauty that can transform a person’s life—arrived in Eden, Virginia, on the fourth Thursday in June.” That’s the day Tallie Brock sees the sign at the Klip-N-Kurl, the beauty parlor where she works part-time, sweeping the floor and refilling shampoo bottles, among other chores. (What she really enjoys is listening to the women chat, gossip, and buzz like a beehive.) The sign in the front window announces GLAMOUR DAY. For twenty dollars, a woman can receive a complete professional makeover—and a glossy nine-by-twelve-inch picture of the result.

For Tallie, the glam shot just may be her ticket out of Lovettsville. She dreams of someday going to Hollywood and becoming a Star. Her mother, who was the spitting image of Natalie Wood, used to say “the sky’s the limit.” In fact, her mother once left home to make a movie in Los Angeles. But she returned six months later without whispering a word about it—and tried to pick up her life right where she left off. Tallie noticed something different, though. And her mother’s best friend, Martha Lee, the plainest woman within miles, knew the secret that soon the whole town would discover. At the time, Tallie was just afraid her mother would get antsy and disappear again. She was only half right.

But that was four years ago, and now Glamour Day is fast approaching. While jotting down observations in her Rulebook for Living (such as “Women with fat faces shouldn’t wear bangs” and “Beetles signify change”), Tallie finds herself changing in unexpected ways—as she tests the limits of trust, explores her growing attraction to a boy from a family as rich as her imagination, and reaches for the sky like she has never done before.

By turns funny and tender, joyous and poignant, bestselling author Anne LeClaire has written a winning, stylish novel of small-town Southern life— and what it means to be a mother, daughter, best friend, wife, and lover.


From the Hardcover edition.
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“The promise of beauty—the kind of real, personal beauty that can transform a person’s life—arrived in Eden, Virginia, on the fourth Thursday in June.” That’s the day Tallie Brock sees the sign at the Klip-N-Kurl, the beauty parlor where she works part-time, sweeping the floor and refilling shampoo bottles, among other chores. (What she really enjoys is listening to the women chat, gossip, and buzz like a beehive.) The sign in the front window announces GLAMOUR DAY. For twenty dollars, a woman can receive a complete professional makeover—and a glossy nine-by-twelve-inch picture of the result.

For Tallie, the glam shot just may be her ticket out of Lovettsville. She dreams of someday going to Hollywood and becoming a Star. Her mother, who was the spitting image of Natalie Wood, used to say “the sky’s the limit.” In fact, her mother once left home to make a movie in Los Angeles. But she returned six months later without whispering a word about it—and tried to pick up her life right where she left off. Tallie noticed something different, though. And her mother’s best friend, Martha Lee, the plainest woman within miles, knew the secret that soon the whole town would discover. At the time, Tallie was just afraid her mother would get antsy and disappear again. She was only half right.

But that was four years ago, and now Glamour Day is fast approaching. While jotting down observations in her Rulebook for Living (such as “Women with fat faces shouldn’t wear bangs” and “Beetles signify change”), Tallie finds herself changing in unexpected ways—as she tests the limits of trust, explores her growing attraction to a boy from a family as rich as her imagination, and reaches for the sky like she has never done before.

By turns funny and tender, joyous and poignant, bestselling author Anne LeClaire has written a winning, stylish novel of small-town Southern life— and what it means to be a mother, daughter, best friend, wife, and lover.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (320 pages)
Published: December 18, 2007
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780307415806
Other books byAnne Leclaire
  • Entering Normal

    Entering Normal
    In the tradition of The Good Mother and The Deep End of the Ocean, Anne D. LeClaire delivers a heartbreaking–and breathtaking–novel of two very different but equally loving mothers who face the most painful of losses and then find the courage not only to go on but to find meaning and hope in their lives. Rose Nelson is a middle-aged woman with a broken past, a sorrow from which she cannot recover. Secretly guilty about her role in her teenaged son’s death five years ago, she has sealed herself off from life, enveloped by a grief that has slowly eaten away at her relationship with her husband. Against her will, Rose is drawn into the world she has avoided when Opal Gates and her five-year-old son, Zack, move in next door. Determined to start an independent life for herself, twenty-year-old Opal has left her family and the father of her son in North Carolina. But when she quickly begins an affair with Tyrone Miller, a part-time mechanic and local musician, Opal unwittingly breaks the tacit rules of both her family and her new hometown. Initially, Rose cannot bear the sight of Opal and her son. But later when Zack is injured, she instinctively lies to protect Opal from a single mistake that changes the lives of everyone involved. Faced with a custody suit brought by Zack’s father and her own parents, Opal faces a trial in which each choice she has made will be used as ammunition in the battle to take Zack away from her. Confronting such devastating loss and the questions it poses are at the heart of Entering Normal. How does one go on after great tragedy? What is a family? What sacrifices must a mother be willing to make for her child? And how can a good mother sometimes make bad choices? Entering Normal is a story of family, a novel about courage, loss, risk, and betrayal. It is a story that goes to the heart of love. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Law of Bound Hearts

    The Law of Bound Hearts
    A Novel
    With Entering Normal and Leaving Eden, Anne LeClaire brilliantly probed the interior lives of women–friends, mothers, daughters–bringing to vivid life the conflict, surprises, and resilience of their complex relationships. Now in her new novel, The Law of Bound Hearts, LeClaire focuses her gaze on sisters, with the same compassion, insight, and startling breadth of emotion. Sisters Libby and Sam Lewis were inseparable as little girls, best friends and soul mates. But a terrible event during in their 30s completely shatters their tender connection. Now the sisters live entirely unconnected lives. Happily married, Libby manages a spotless household, clings to schedules, and maintains a vigorous exercise routine; a pastry chef who harbors no romantic delusions, Sam runs a successful decorative cake business out of her newly purchased Victorian home. Neither wishes to be the first to reach out and make amends–until a sobering turn of events forces action. Libby discovers she has contracted a rare kidney disease that could end her life. A transplant will increase her chances for survival. Sam would be the ideal donor. But Libby is stubborn and unwilling to seek help from others. Much to the dismay of her husband, she is resolved to face her illness alone. Sam avoids the sentimental and refuses to allow Libby back in her life. Once she knows the truth, will Sam bury the past and reach out to her estranged sister? Anne LeClaire’s The Law of Bound Hearts is an extraordinary story of family that lingers in the mind. It is a novel about courage, betrayal, and forgiveness that penetrates the very core of love. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Lavender Hour

    The Lavender Hour
    A Novel
    Downsized from her teaching job, Jessie longs for a sense of renewal and decides to spend a year on Cape Cod, seeking to be cleansed by rushing ocean waters and comforted by the lavender hues of the setting sun. While there she volunteers with a local hospice program, where she meets Luke, a once proud fisherman whose life and body have been ravaged by cancer. Jessie’s presence is a great help to Luke’s mother, who has moved in to take care of her son. After initial misgivings Jessie and Luke forge a deep friendship, and the former teacher is surprised to find herself opening up about her life, the loss of her father when she was a girl, her often difficult relationship with her mother, and her own battle with illness. When Luke makes a critical request of his new friend, Jessie must look deep within herself for an answer, knowing that her actions will have far-reaching effects on Luke’s family and forever change the bonds within her own. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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  • I was asleep the night Mama left us, but I remember every detail of the moment she came home.

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