Light in Summer

Jean Stubbs, Author
Jean Stubbs, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-312-05462-5
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This deftly told, refreshingly unpredictable novel begins with the death of Sarah, the nine-year-old daughter of Giles and Marina Meredith. They are devastated and unable to cope with the additional strain on their already troubled marriage. Marina decides to work through her emotional crisis at an isolated seaside cottage in Cornwall, temporarily leaving Giles behind in London, and taking with her Sarah's twin, Joshua. Her hopes for solitude are shattered when she discovers that the nearest cottage has been let to the well-known actor Conrad Gage and a gregarious menage including his wife, Harriet; four children; and a nanny. Joshua becomes fast friends with the energetic Gage children and Marina finds herself drawn to warm and supportive Harriet. Marina basks in sun and good company, and senses that both she and Joshua are healing. She decides to travel to London for a reconciliation with Giles and is staggered to find him in bed with a lover. When she returns to Cornwall to reconsider her future, she finds that Harriet has become inexplicably hostile. The author of A Lasting Spring guides her convincingly delineated characters through some intriguingly complicated relationships. (Mar.)
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