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Suzanne believes she knows who she is: a former wild child, neither virgin nor virginal as a teen; someone who pulls for the wayward girls and troubled boys she now teaches in Minnesota. She has learned to survive good love and bad love and people who don't care at all. At her rented cabin, she gathers strength, like a storm forming over the lake.
While looking for a spark in her life, a random coincidence leads Suzanne to try to unlock a harrowing event from her past. She is drawn into an unusual relationship with Alpha Breville, a convicted criminal with a disturbing history; simultaneously, she begins seeing an unpredictable, dark-haired drifter—a cowboy who's part angel, part howling dog. Though the cowboy matches Suzanne in intensity and desire, he's less faithful than the captive Breville.
Which man can offer Suzanne the knowledge she seeks? Which man can truly touch her? How can she find her unique peace?
In writing that has been likened to Kate Chopin's, Maureen Gibbon constructs a taut story of desire at the other end of the Mississippi, in the north woods of Minnesota. Against deep lakes, casinos, and a bar named the Royal, Gibbon's unconventional characters show us how to play the hands we're dealt and own the choices we make, in a tough and tender book about hard-won redemption from one of America's most original writers.
“In her relentlessly compelling new novel, Thief--which I read in a single sitting--Maureen Gibbon's plainspoken, tough-minded heroine gives herself an unsentimental education and issues a sorrowful yet stirring declaration of independence.” —David Gates, author of Jernigan and The Wonders of the Invisible World
“Gibbon writes beautifully of the heartbreaking gulf between expectation and reality that women continue to endure, and the tragedies that await those who refuse to abide by these difficulties. It is her heroine's refusal to be afraid, her understanding of the violence at the heart of things, her embrace of the world's beauty, and her great conscience that save her, and inspire the reader.” —Susanna Moore, author of The Big Girls
“In an odd way this book is a female, and highly sexual, version of Thoreau's Walden; there are some lovely bits about solitude, nature and solitude-in-nature, but Suzanne is a woman who craves and needs contact, and much of her contemplation is devoted to exploring the tangled roots of that need. Grim but inspiring, this is a flint-tough, plainspoken novel about a flint-tough, plainspoken woman who asks no pity and gives no quarter.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This searing, compact novel can be read in one sitting for maximum intensity. Suzanne's direct voice, stripped of self-pity, will draw readers in and keep them there.” —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist