When she is nine-years-old, Louise Kirk's mother disappears, leaving a note that reads only--and incorrectly--"Louise knows how to work the washing machine." It is not long before a strange couple and their adopted son, Abel, move in across the street. Louise quickly grows close with the exotic Mrs. Richter, but saves her stronger, more lasting affections for Mrs. Richter's intelligent son. From this childhood friendship evolves a love that will bind Louise and Abel forever, and though Abel moves away and Louise matures into adulthood, her attachment grows dangerously, fiercely fixed.
“[A] heartbreaking and compassionate novel...Gowdy is a miraculous writer. The pages of The Romantic brim over with so much real life they practically breathe.” —Chicago Tribune
“Few writers are able to meld the serious and the comic to such poignant effect...a brilliant evocation.” —The Boston Globe
“[A] masterful narration that moves seamlessly back and forth in time...clear-eyed.” —Los Angeles Times
“I had to admire Gowdy's elegant structure.... Louise's descriptions of her feelings for Abel are carefully constructed and, at times, flat-out beautiful.... [Gowdy] has found a perfect vehicle for her peculiar talents.” —The New York Times Book Review