Few romance authors are able to portray the complex and contradictory emotions that bind family members as effortlessly as Rice (Firefly Beach, etc.), and in this enchanting, heartfelt tale, she showcases her considerable talent. Wedding planner May Taylor has suffered her share of life's blows. Both her parents died when she was young; her first love turned out to be married; and her six-year-old daughter, Kylie, claims to see angels. Nevertheless, May has managed to build a rewarding life for herself in Black Hall, Conn. When fate lands her on a plane with famed Boston Bruins hockey player Martin Cartier, she realizes how desperately she needs a soul mate and Kylie needs a father. The romance between May and Martin is swift but satisfying, and their lives seem almost perfect until Martin is forced to confront the ghosts of his past and the realization that he is going blind. Martin's blindness is symbolic of his lack of insight into his relationship with his father, Serge, a former hockey star who is serving hard time for gambling. Martin blames the older man for the accidental death of Martin's daughter, Natalie, and refuses to answer Serge's appeals. But the tragedy weighs heavily on Martin's conscience and, with May's guidance, he slowly learns to forgive and to have faith in those who love him. A warm and illuminating summer read, this poignant tale of love, loss and reconciliation will have readers hitting the bookstores on the way to the beaches. (July 3)
Forecast:A national television and radio advertising campaign as well as print advertising in People, First for Women and USA Today will ensure that sales of Rice's newest will exceed its 75,000 initial print run. The book will also receive a boost from the television adaptation of Rice's Follow the Stars Home (which will air in May) and the May release of Firefly Beach (Forecasts, Apr. 16).