The second volume in Maureen Howard‘s planned quartet of fictions based on the seasons reaffirms her reputation as one of America’s most highly regarded authors. In the title piece, Howard presents an ambitious exploration of the life and work of John James Audubon, revealing how his dedication to his masterpiece, The Birds of America, devoured everyone around him, including his wife, Lucy. In “Children with Matches,” a feminist historian discovers that the hard lessons of the past may be a route to responsibility in the present. “The Magdalene” is a tale of willful innocence and loss of faith about a woman who comes to New York in the 1930s to be the nanny of a wealthy family. Thoughtful, intricate, and insightful, Howard’s stories are compelling achievements.