The dust jacket touts Slow Waltz at Cedar Bend as a story about a once-in-a-lifetime love, but that’s misleading. James Robert Waller’s slender novel actually holds three intersecting love stories, only one of which can be told without spoiling the story.
The main story is about Michael Tillman, an economics professor, who falls head over heels in lust with the wife of a new faculty member.
Bored with husband Jim, Jellie Braden finds sexual fulfillment with Michael. Before she married Jim, Jellie Braden had had some bad experience in India which she won’t talk about.
One day Jellie just disappears.
Jim Braden is willing to wait for his wife to work out her problem but Michael gets on a plane for India, determined to find the one woman he wants.
When he finds Jellie in southwest India, he learns her previous experience there was far different—far worse—than he could have imagined.
Her present-day situation is also far more complicated than he could have imagined.
Amid all the love stories, Waller scatters wry comments about academic life that temporarily lighten the emotional tone until he can wrap up his love stories in an ending that’s more plausible than the novel’s jacket notes.
Slow Waltz at Cedar Bend
by James Robert Waller
Warner Books. ©1993. 197 p.
1993 bestseller #3; my grade: B-
©2020 Linda G. Aragoni