Rescue

Elizabeth Richards, Author Pocket Books $22 (256p) ISBN 978-0-671-02397-3
A 40-year-old New York City wife finds her disappointment in being childless alleviated through the care she offers her troubled 17-year-old stepson in Richards's fast-paced, witty second novel (after Every Day). Unable to conceive with her corporate lawyer husband and reluctant to adopt, Paige MacGowan finds baby hunger threatening to spoil her otherwise happy life. A professional bookbinder and second wife of Ian, Paige is also depressed and needy following the recent death of her adored father. Looking after ""the littles,"" the four children in the after-school day-care program she runs, helps somewhat, but it isn't until Malachi, Ian's smart, antagonistic, sarcastic son from his first marriage, is kicked out of school in Brooklyn for selling drugs, and his mother turns to Ian and Paige to provide a home for the ""delinquent,"" that Paige's emptiness begins to fill up. Though she first met Mal when he was 13, Paige has been careful to keep her distance from his disapproving attitude; now, she finds herself giving up her home office so that he can use it as a bedroom. As she tries to provide Mal with the structure and love he needs, Paige begins turning away from Ian, who in turn feels upstaged by his own son. A coterie of sister second wives give Paige advice and support on how to deal with a stepchild, but just when she thinks she has Mal on course, he rebels in a melodramatic fashion. Richards excels at dialogue, capturing teen lingo and other colloquial conversation, and speeding the plot along with admirable dexterity. Though Mal never seems as exhausting as he's meant to be, Paige is a completely realized character, a recognizable middle-aged woman facing the opportunities and limitations of the second half of her life. Agent, Ann Rittenberg. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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