Riding Shotgun

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The last year was not a good one for Pryor Deyhle Blackwood. “Cig”, as she is known to her intimates, buried her husband and discovered that, despite his consistent infidelities, the extra income was of no small value. As a result, she faces an uphill battle to satisfy her various financial obligations. Meanwhile, her daughter Laura explores the boundaries of her mother’s affection in unexpected ways, while her son Hunter tries desperately to assist his mother and continue his own maturation. Still, all Cig’s problems are small potatoes indeed when she learns that her husband’s last conquest was her own selectively promiscuous sister.

Before Cig can even begin to come to grips with the last indignity her late husband visited upon her, however, she undergoes a truly harrowing experience. While riding through the Virginia countryside in the course of a fox hunt, Cig literally rides into history. She suddenly finds herself faced with her own ancestors in the year 1699. Her adventure in that far-off land and the circumstances of her ultimate return leave Cig with a newfound appreciation for herself and those around her that deepens with each passing day.

Rita Mae Brown frequently seeks to explore the nuances of American society in this last decade of this century and the degree to which they contrast with those of an earlier, but no less complicated, time. Her most successful works are those which explore that contrast and RIDING SHOTGUN is no exception to that rule. Those of her fans who were disappointed with VENUS ENVY but pleased with DOLLEY will find much in this work to cherish as Brown returns to familiar themes.