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The First Warm Evening of the Year: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 24, 2012

65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Saul weaves a tale of loss and love in this story of New Yorker Geoffrey Tremont, whose sophisticated and urbane life is unexpectedly altered when he receives a letter naming him as executor of the estate of his college friend Laura Wells, after her early death from cancer. Although Geoffrey has not talked with Laura in nearly two decades, he honors the wishes of his old friend and travels to Laura’s hometown of Shady Grove. Upon his arrival, Geoffrey meets Laura’s friend Marian Ballantine and is immediately drawn to this reserved young widow. A profound tragedy has caused Marian to retreat into a safe but passionless life. Geoffrey’s sudden appearance and Laura’s early death causes Marian to reconsider whether it is possible to love again after so great a loss. The pacing of the novel is slow, and at times Geoffrey’s continued ruminations about love can become tedious. Still, fans of gentle reads will enjoy the strong focus on relationships and the slow build between Marian and Geoffrey. --Eve Gaus


“Fans of gentle reads will enjoy the strong focus on relationships and the slow build between Marian and Geoffrey.” (Booklist on THE FIRST WARM EVENING OF THE YEAR)

“There’s much to make this novel compelling.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A beautifully rendered, psychologically astute novel about the risks—and joys—of love and loving.” (Shelf Awareness)

“A powerful first novel.” (Indianapolis Star)

“A moving and elegant novel that lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned.” (

“A heartfelt examination of one man’s grief with a dark and intriguing mystery pulsating beneath the surface.” (John Searles, author of Strange But True and Boy Still Missing)

“A gripping tour de force that leaves us stunned and breathless.” (Orlando Sentinel)

“A bold and impressive debut . . . In a gripping tour de force by a writer supremely confident of his vision, Saul leaves us stunned and breathless, waiting for the next chapter in what one hopes will be a long and illustrious career.” (Orlando Sentinel)

It’s the mystery of what happened to Danny that will carry you through this book . . .The ending is a reminder that we are heartbreakingly vulnerable through our children.” (Arizona Republic)

“This first novel rivals Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Deep End of the Ocean as a probing exploration into the psychology of grief . . . a gorgeous literary thriller of the highest caliber.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Saul’s first novel is a powerful look at memory, family, and unexpected tragedy . . . recommended.” (Library Journal)

“Saul controls his material with almost flawless skill. . . . A fine thriller, stocked with solid, effective characters and characterizations.” (Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star)

“Quietly affecting . . . a debut with enormous depth of characterization and sympathy.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Powerful . . . [An] intense first achievement . . .difficult to put down” (Indianapolis Star)

“One of the most satisfying and poignant novels readers will come across this year.” (Anniston Star)

“Like an arrow to the heart, Jamie Saul’s page-turner novel sears through the psyche to hit bedrock.” (Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits)

“LIGHT OF DAY is a haunting, beautifully-written and heart-wrenching debut.” (Harlan Coben, New York Times-bestselling author of Just One Look)

“How does a novel become a work of classic literature? My betting is that this first novel by a new author will eventually be seen that way. . . . Anyone who wants in on the ground floor of that decision should grab the book now.” (Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska))

“Heartbreaking and well-written.” (Winston-Salem Journal)

“From its poignant opening chapter to its breathtaking conclusion, nothing about this writer or book is less than extraordinary.” (Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Breakdown Lane)

“Exhilarating. . . .One of those debut novels that delivers the goods with style and compassion.” (Washington Post Book World)

“An intellectual thriller laced with subtle clues throughout its gracious prose.” (Chicago Tribune Books)

“In this engaging novel, a Manhattan man finds romance—and a few other surprises—when he goes to settle the estate of an old friend.” (#1 Pick) (O, the Oprah Magazine)

“[T]he story flows quickly...Saul’s writing and vocabulary are sophisticated and learned.” (

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061449725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061449727
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,939,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By I Do the Speed Limit TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you can't perceive the possibility of love at-first-sight, you will think that this novel does not ring true; that the story has no basis or foundation.

But if you DO believe that you can see a person--a first-time, clear and quick and crisp glimpse, in a certain sort of light or maybe a certain color of the day and atmosphere; hear that unknown person speak to you in such a way that stirs your insides; look into that person's steady gaze and know that you want to be with them--somehow--for the rest of your life; well, then, this book is worth your time.

While this novel is more than a story about falling in love, (but falling in love is the driving force), it is not a book about passion or sex and, come to think of it, in this book that is mostly comprised of conversations, I seriously cannot remember anyone saying "I love you". This novel is way more subtle than that. There are moments of annoyance and flirting; remembrance and avoidance; fear and audacity; helping and obligation; giddiness and apprehension and awe, and of course, the biggie: Guilt--all everyday concerns and thoughts that rattle around in our brains when we're moving into and out of relationships.

There is a unique "freshness", or call it a purity, in that all the characters are very upfront and truthful with each other.

These are the relationships at the beginning of this novel: Two brothers, very close to each other, one with a girlfriend, one in between boyfriends; two women, one now dead from cancer with a younger brother who's missed her funeral, the other one a widow with a hometown boyfriend.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Anderson on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I started reading this book I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. It all seemed so unlikely. A man becoming the executor of a friends estate when he hasn't seen her in 20 years. Anyway, I was interested in finding out more and read on. This is a very compelling love story yet so much more than just that. It is a character study of people in families, friendships and marriages. It is how we think and love and die.

Geoffrey ended up capturing my heart. There is a lot of conversation in this book. In fact, that is the meat of the book, the conversations these peole have with one another and what they learn about themselves and what we as readers learn about them and ourselves as well.

Very well written. I kept expecting some big revelation that would explain why Geoffrey was chosen for this task. Instead, we as readers slowly do discover in a deep involving way the meaning of love, family and friendship in these peoples lives. This was a book that was well worth reading. Refreshing!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Craig on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this novel at the recommendation of the Oprah Magazine, which has DEFINITELY let me down this time. Geoffrey overthought every single thing in his life and the poor reader is forced to endure every minor detail. His repeated analysis of himself, Marian, Laura, Simon and Buddy, Buddy, Buddy, BUDDY drove me to distraction. This flowery, psychological mess had very little story and almost nothing to keep the reader interested. The only thing that made this a "page turner" for me was the hope that somehow I would finally get to THE POINT. I never did, but I did finally make it to the end and am ever so happy that the excruciating pace at which the tale progressed is finally in the past for me. I would never recommend this book to ANYONE I know. It was AWFUL!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on May 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Geoffrey Tremont believes that he is content with his life in New York City. He has a good job, and what he thinks is a good relationship with a woman there. But is his life really as good as it seems?

He realizes this when a close friend from college, Laura Wells, dies. Granted, Geoffrey and Laura graduated about twenty years ago and have lost touch, but Laura has chosen Geoffrey to be executor of her estate.

Laura had a good life in Paris as a musician and was married to a musician. But her husband died a number of years ago. Laura returns to her home town, Shady Grove, New York, and teaches music there until her death. Laura's parents, however, did not think that she, a Julliard graduate, was making the best use of her talents when she played jazz in Paris, thus Laura lost touch with her family - save for a younger brother, Simon, who also felt pushed by their parents and standing in Laura's very long shadow.

Things become even more complex when Geoffrey comes to close down Laura's small home in Shady Grove. Simon, very needy both physically and emotionally, shows up. Geoffrey becomes involved with Marion, a woman in Shady Grove, who lost her husband in an accident. Geoffrey realizes that perhaps his life in New York City isn't as good as it seems.

Readers wonder why, after so many years, Laura wanted Geoffrey to attend to her estate, why Marion isn't sure about getting involved with Geoffrey, and whether Simon will ever find his way in life.

The writing is good but perhaps a bit formulaic (that's why a four), but this is what makes this novel a good summer read for exactly what the title says: the first warm evening of the year.
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