The Reckless Kind
By Carly Heath
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It's 1904 on an island just west of Norway, and Asta Hedstrom doesn't want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils. But her mother believes she should be grateful for the possibility of any domestic future given her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier. But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousy—gravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta vows instead to live the life of her choosing, along with Gunnar and Erlend. With few ties left to their families, they have one shot at gaining enough money to secure their future: win the village's annual horse race. Despite Gunnar's increasing misgivings and difficult recovery, Asta and Erlend intend to prove this unheard-of arrangement will succeed. But the more they defy small-town tradition, the stronger the villagers' hateful ignorance becomes. With this year's competition proving dangerous for the reckless trio, Asta and Erlend soon find they face another equally deadly peril: the possibility of losing Gunnar, and their found family, forever.