THE PINK MAGNOLIA CLUB
A wedding gown sale held by the Making Memories Foundation, which fulfills the wishes of breast cancer patients, serves as the catalyst for this slow-moving but inspirational meditation on love, loss, friendship and hope. Best known for her historical romances, Dawson (The Bad Luck Wedding Night) tells a tale of three genteel women who meet and become fast friends at the Making Memories sale in Fort Worth, Tex. Holly Weeks is lured to the sale by her boyfriend, Justin, who then proposes. Instead of accepting, Holly, who lost her mother to breast cancer and is terrified of breaking Justin's heart if she has the disease some day herself, flees to the women's room, where she meets Maggie Prescott, a 40-something housewife with a dysfunctional marriage, and Grace Hardeman, a cancer patient who is about to celebrate her 50th anniversary. All three women are at turning points in their lives, and through their comradeship, they find a way to face the challenges of the future. Dawson offers plenty of witticisms on love and life ("Life is just a big old square dance. Just as soon as you think you're getting the swing of it, it's allemande left and docey doe"), but her characters tend to be melodramatic. Still, there are a number of truly moving moments here, and readers who have been touched by the disease will take this tale to heart. (Aug. 13)
Forecast:Cross-promotion with the Making Memories Foundation should boost this book onto the charts come October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), and Dawson, a member of the foundation's board of directors, will likely receive some media attention due to her connection to Making Memories, which was spotlighted on Oprah's "Angel Network" two years ago.