Skillfully evoking the cozy but claustrophobic atmosphere of Shelter Rock Cove, Maine, Bretton's sequel to A Soft Place to Fall (2001) tackles the familiar topics of renewal, friendship and familial bonds. The story opens the morning after Ob-Gyn Ellen Markowitz spends the night with her senior partner, Dr. Hall Talbot, a three-time divorcee and father of four. Instead of bringing the couple more tightly together, however, that night-particularly the point when Hall utters the name of his long-ago love, Annie-pushes them farther apart. Certain that Hall still carries a torch for Annie, Ellen tries to ignore her attraction to him. But unbeknownst to her and the nosy townspeople, Hall has been over Annie for some time. He just doesn't know how to convince Ellen of this truth. Then Ellen's half-sister Deirdre shows up with a dog the size of a small bear, needing a place to park him for the summer. Their complicated kinship adds another dimension to the story, as do vibrant secondary characters like Hall's best friend Susan and Scott, the laconic mechanic who fixes Deirdre's car and serves as her love interest. The denouement comes too soon, partly because the various story lines are tied up too easily but mostly because this is a book readers will want to savor. (Nov. 4) Forecast: With its pastel cover image of a lighthouse and a serene shorefront, this book will have a hard time fitting in with winter/fall displays, but it may beckon fans of Luanne Rice and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.