When their hard-drinking, but loving, father dies in a car accident, teenage brothers Kyle and Klint Hayes face a bleak prospect: leaving their Pennsylvania hometown for an uncertain life in Arizona with the mother who ran out on them years ago. But in a strange twist of fate, their town’s matriarch, an eccentric, wealthy old woman whose family once owned the county coal mines, hears the boys’ story. Candace Jack doesn’t have an ounce of maternal instinct, yet for reasons she does not even understand herself, she is compelled to offer them a home.
Suddenly, the two boys go from living in a small, run-down house on a gravel road to a stately mansion filled with sumptuous furnishings and beautiful artwork—artwork that’s predominantly centered, oddly, on bullfighting. And then there’s Miss Jack’s real-life bull: Ventisco—a regal, hulking, jet-black beast who roams the land she owns with fiery impudence.
Kyle adjusts more easily to the transition. A budding artist, he finds a kindred spirit in Miss Jack. But local baseball hero Klint refuses to warm up to his new benefactress and instead throws himself into his game with a fierceness that troubles his little brother. Klint is not just grieving his father’s death; he’s carrying a terrible secret that he has never revealed to anyone. Unbeknownst to the world, Candace Jack has a secret too—a tragic, passionate past in Spain that the boys’ presence threatens to reveal as she finds herself caring more for them than she ever believed possible.
From the muted, bruised hills of Pennsylvania coal country to the colorful, flamboyant bull rings of southern Spain, Tawni O’Dell takes us on a riveting journey not only between two completely different lands, but also between seemingly incompatible souls, casting us under her narrative spell in which characters and places are rendered with fragile tenderness.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Fragile Beasts|
|Release Date: 03-23-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Shaye Areheart|
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|Parent title||Fragile Beasts|
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The Quiet One
Villarica, Spain. June 24, 1959.
Manuel Obrador knew that he was dead but understood he had not yet finished dying.
He lay in a haze of yellow dust on a carpet of glittering sand beneath the blinding white disc of a setting Spanish summer sun. The sky was the same fierce yet tender blue he remembered from as long ago as his boyhood spent in this same town and from as recently as this afternoon when he left his contented cuadrilla smoking their cigarettes after a fine lunch and strolled from the restaurant to his hotel to have his siesta. Grilled fish, cold partridge, lamb chops, a hard, salty Manchego cheese, cake and ice cream, and more than a few bottles of vino tinto for him and his men: many toreros found it impossible to eat before stepping into the ring, but the anticipation always made him hungry. He didn’t know at the time that it was to be his last meal, but if he had known, he probably wouldn’t have requested a different one.
Calladito had been an excellent bull, the kind many toreros spent the better parts of their careers hoping to meet. Manuel had known he was going to be such a bull when he first chanced to glimpse him at Carmen del Pozo’s finca more than a year ago standing with a group of five others in an endless field of lavender, his coat a sleek black that shimmered with glints of blue each time a muscle twitched. He was easily over a thousand pounds, his body thick and
compactly powerful, his legs slender and delicate in comparison: a heavyweight fighter with a ballerina’s grace and speed.
Manuel and everyone else in the Jeep had sat perfectly still so as not to attract the attention of any of the bulls but d...