Outside Wonderland

Lorna Jane Cook, Author
Lorna Jane Cook, St. Martin's Griffin, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-62569-6
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Hardcover - 322 pages - 978-0-312-60696-1
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-6585-9
Hardcover - 398 pages - 978-1-61173-091-3
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When the three very young Stenen children lose their mother in a freak household accident and then, eight years later, their father, the tragedy of their being orphaned has far-reaching consequences, leaving them unmoored and coping with adulthood in wildly different ways. The trick is that the parents are watching over them from the great beyond and telling the story. Alice, the eldest, is an actress, detached from feelings until she meets Ian, a single father who seduces her into a world of family and stability. Griffin has a long-term relationship with partner Theo, but Theo's near obsessive desire to have children drives Griffin into the arms of another man. The youngest, perennial optimist Dinah, unexpectedly pregnant and adrift, returns to the bosom of family to sort through her faith and uncertainty. Overly sentimental, Cook's (Departures) latest suffers from a number of flaws. It is easy to feel instantly sorry for the three orphans, but harder to appreciate their loss when their dead parents are so present. That choice makes for a warm and fuzzy aura that telegraphs the message that everything will turn out fine and eliminates any possibility of drama or meaningful grief. The result is tedious and annoying. (Mar.)
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