The Night Journal: A Novel

Elizabeth Crook

Viking,  March 2006

Elizabeth Crook's novel is a lavish and transporting tale of a young woman discovering the truth about her family's mythic past.

Meg Mabry has spent her life with her back turned to her legendary family legacy. In the 1890s her great-grandmother Hannah Bass composed starkly revealing diaries of her life on the southwestern frontier, first as a Harvey Girl at the glamorous Montezuma Resort in New Mexico and later as the wife of brilliant, and often absent, railway engineer Elliott Bass. A generation later, Hannah's daughter, Claudia Bass, a renowned historian known to all as Bassie, staked her academic career and reputation on these vibrant accounts, editing and publishing them to great acclaim, and establishing the Bass family as a pillar in the history of the American southwest.

Meg -- Bassie's granddaughter -- finds the family lore oppressive. Determined to pursue a life away from the business of history keeping, she has refused, to the annoyance of her grandmother, to read even a single page of the journal. When an excavation on the old Bass family property beckons a now elderly and viper-tongued Bassie back to the fabled land of her childhood, Meg grudgingly consents to accompany her. But when an unexpected discovery casts doubt on the history recorded in Hannah's pages and harbored in Bassie's memories, Meg finally succumbs to the allure of her great-grandmother's story and ventures even deeper into Hannah's life to unlock the mystery at the journal's core.

Seductive and richly told, The Night Journal is an enthralling tale in which Indian ruins, majestic desert hotels, and the hardship and grandeur of frontier life fit seamlessly with a modern-day story of coming to terms with loss, family secrets, and staggering truths that lie shrouded in memory.

hardcover | ISBN: 9780670034772 | Publication Date: March 2006

"Rich and serious yet also wonderfully beguiling, Elizabeth Crook's novel shows just how strong a hold our ancestors have on our destiny. I loved the characters and settings, both present and past, but the gradual revelation of their dreams and fears is what makes this story so gripping and so unique."
--Julia Glass, author of Three Junes