Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend

I couldn’t wait to start reading Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend by Robert James Waller, and now, I’m done with it. It left me feeling kind of disappointed, though.

Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend is the story of Dr. Michael Tillman, a 40-something professor, who meets and falls hopelessly in love with Jellie Braden, wife of co-professor Jimmy Braden. There is something very powerful between them, and Jellie can feel it too. Jellie is a strong woman, cut out for better things than her meek but kind husband Jimmy. So very Bridges Of Madison County-like!

Michael shakes up Jellie’s comfortable world and she escapes to India, looking for some space to think and sort out her feelings. Michael follows her to India and traces her out, in the process unearthing a side of Jellie he had never thought could exist. I would rather not reveal the rest of the story here.

I somehow couldn’t digest the turns the plot takes. The book falls more than a few notches short of The Bridges Of Madison County, and I didn’t have the same warm feeling when I read it. Falling in deep love and always being there for someone is one thing, but isn’t there something like giving ‘space’ to your partner (Jellie was not even Michael’s ‘partner’ officially then), especially when she asks for it? Didn’t she deserve the chance to think about her life and take the decision that she felt was right? I also couldn’t quite accept Jellie’s behaviour towards the end of the story.

The book is simple and short, and a comfortable read. It has oodles of the author’s old-world charm, which I loved in The Bridges Of Madison County and A Thousand Country Roads. It has got lots and lots of cutesy mush, which I loved. Take this for example:

“You walked through the door and something started to hum inside me. The hum has now escalated into a symphonic scream I can’t turn off.”

Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend is as much a novel about lust as it is about love. A lot of times, I had to look at the cover to make sure I was not reading a Mills  & Boon.

The book kept me hooked from start to end, though, and I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to find out what happens to Michael and Jellie as fast as I could. However, by the time I finished, I was feeling let down. Maybe I had set up too high standards?

All in all, I would say it is a nice read. An OK-ish book, if not great. Definitely not up to Madison County standards.

I’m now all set to read the other two books I have by the same author – Puerto Vallarta Squeeze and Border Music. Here’s hoping I like them much more than I did this book.


Filed under Reading Ramana

17 responses to “Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend

  1. Bragadeesh

    //Falling in deep love and always being there for someone is one thing, but isn’t there something like giving ‘space’ to your partner // :). I think men have their own insecurities. So afraid to take an negative answer. And its next to impossible to change the mind of the girl after a while. I am guilty so me not talking. Should watch this space for other comments :). Thanks for introducing this book. 🙂

    • priyaiyer


      ‘And its next to impossible to change the mind of the girl after a while.’ – I wouldn’t really want someone try to change my mind when I’m trying to think. I’d rather think over the situation and take a decision I feel is right – that might be in favour of the guy or not. Of what use is a ‘convinced’ decision?

      This is my two cents, anyways. To each his own. No offense meant.

  2. Praveen

    I’d suggest you read “See Paris for me”, by Priti Aisola.

  3. Praveen

    May I ask if you picked it up from friends or some lending library?
    Odessey, Sapna, Landmark- none have this book in stock.
    your post was intriguing, so I just checked with all.

    btw See Paris for me is a story of a woman falling in love after marriage with a bachelor, but with a lot of maturity and the writing is very good. Anyways, I won’t reveal more. On the same lines is a book called Mistress by Anitha Nair which was popular for its Kathakali setting.

  4. Praveen

    I should have known it is Blossoms, I forgot!! 🙂
    Will visit Blossoms this weekend and pick it up.

    Pls do review See Paris for me and Mistress.

    PS: And yeh, not necessary you have to approve every comment of mine 😛 . I have this habit of forgetting to say something and hitting send before that and abusing the comment box again with my verbal nonsense.
    Sorry to occupy too much space.

    • priyaiyer


      Sure sure. Do let me know how you liked this book, if you do get around to reading it. Will try to read See Paris For Me soon. I don’t have a copy of Mistress as of now.

      PS: I have no issues with the comments. I normally don’t delete comments.

      • Praveen


        I finished See Paris for me last week and had read Mistress in 2006. My vote is for the former. Both and based on a married woman;s attraction for a bachelor, but the maturity in See Paris for me is amazing and so is the writing, but do read Mistress.

  5. I haven’t read this one, only Bridges. I hope you enjoy the next one.

  6. Praveen

    Looks like you are the one who bought the last copy of this book from Blossoms.

    Thank you!

  7. Praveen

    Finally, got it ! Will read soon.

    Next time you visit Brigade rd,bang opp to Shoe Maker, there is a small gali, just enter that and on to your left at the basement you will find a treasure tove of books, Book worm. And, if you want to dispose of old books, you can exchange them here for new ones.

    At times, this place has books, that you won’t find @ Blossom’s.

    One more interesting book I found, The Art of Making Choice by Sheena Iyengar. This is not a self help book as the title might suggest, you can read about this woman here and watch a short video about the book below; amazing!

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Praveen

    *dispose off old books

  9. Pingback: Best of 2010 – Books « uniquely priya

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