**** stars. Eleven stories demonstrate the emotional power and the clean, assured style that have earned Maile Meloy praise from critics and devotion from readers. Set mostly in the American West, the stories feature small-town lawyers, ranchers, doctors, parents, and children, and explore the moral quandaries of love, family, and friendship. A ranch hand falls for a recent law school graduate who appears unexpectedly in his remote Montana town. A young father opens his door to find his dead grandmother standing on the front step. Two women weigh love and betrayal during an early snow. Throughout the book, Meloy examines the tensions between having and wanting, as her characters try to keep hold of opposing forces in their lives: innocence and experience, risk and stability, fidelity and desire. ***** I am not normally a fan of short story collections because if I bond with a character, I want to know more and more about him or her. I don't want them to leave after a brief appearance. Ms. Meloy, however, creates such well developed characters and compelling situations that even though I want more, I enjoyed the stories very much. Highly recommend.