Picking Up the Pieces

Mary Sheepshanks, Author
Mary Sheepshanks, Author Thomas Dunne Books $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-19997-5
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7126-7717-2
Hardcover - 495 pages - 978-1-61173-097-5
Hardcover - 978-0-7531-0311-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-312-97037-6
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A recent widow's attempts to embark on a self-sufficient life give rise to a host of amusing and unexpected turns in English author Sheepshanks's assured, well-crafted third novel (after A Price for Everything). Fifty-ish Kate Rendlesham, widow of the brilliant, overwhelming Oliver, encounters resistance from her headstrong daughter Joanna and needy granddaughter Harriet when she finds the perfect, magic little house that starts her off ""without Oliver's dynamic presence to fill her life."" Support for her plans begins to surface: friends who've been asking her to launch her own line of needlework designs get her thinking, while the intriguing caretaker of the house arouses her interest. The owner of the house turns out to be ""Just Jack,"" a fabulously rich and wonderful man with whom she falls deeply in love while trying to keep her daughter's marriage afloat, her granddaughter from killing her daughter and the members of her social circle from seeing how much her much-admired husband was unlike the person they thought they knew. For it seems Oliver had an awful secret; unfortunately, Jack may have his own secret, equally as bad. Has Kate gone from the frying pan into the fire? Sheepshanks draws well-shaded characters and exhibits a firm grasp of family dynamics while managing to keep the novel's romance element grounded and real. (Jan.)
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