Halfway to Heaven), returns to her Texas hometown after 16 years to visit Lila, the dau"/>


Susan Wiggs, Author . Mira $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55166-673-0

Jessie Ryder, the heroine of this latest novel from romance veteran Wiggs (Halfway to Heaven), returns to her Texas hometown after 16 years to visit Lila, the daughter she gave up for adoption to her older sister, Luz. Her eyesight is deteriorating rapidly from a rare disease, and soon she will no longer be able to continue her successful work as a photojournalist. She now wants to tell Lila the truth about her parentage, but Luz balks at the idea. Luz has chosen a starkly different lifestyle, making a home for her husband Ian, three boys and Lila, who's now a rebellious, out-of-control teenager. Both sisters are envious of the other's choices, and free-spirited Jessie's sudden arrival turns Luz's world—not as stable as it seems on the surface—upside down. As long-buried family secrets come to the surface, Luz and Ian's marriage threatens to unravel. Meanwhile, Jessie's wanderlust is held in check when she falls in love with Dusty Matlock, a local widowed pilot with a two-year-old. The novel sets up provocative family tensions, but these are resolved too easily. Wiggs's tendency to overwrite ("a wave of devastating love and protectiveness rolled over him with crushing strength") and lackluster humor ("Jeez, you're turning into a drama queen," Lila says to Jessie, who quips, "I've been wanting a change of careers") may further disappoint readers. Some of the scenes are finely drawn, however, especially those set at Beacon for the Blind, a facility for training those without eyesight to live independently. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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