Emilie Richards, Author . Mira $23.95 (464p) ISBN 1-55166-921-8

Richards (Fox River) adds to the territory staked out by such authors as Barbara Delinsky and Kristin Hannah with her hardcover debut, an engrossing novel about rebuilding relationships after a betrayal. Faith Bronson, daughter of an overbearing U. S. senator and wife of a conservative family-values lobbyist, gets a shock when she stumbles upon her beloved husband with his male lover. After the development becomes public, the repercussions sweep away her sheltered life and profoundly affect her children, nine-year-old Alex and 14-year-old Remy, as well as her parents' marriage. Faith's new life begins when her mother gives her their old family home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., which is badly in need of repair. The house guards long-buried secrets: some sweet, some tragic and some pertaining to the unsolved kidnapping of Faith's older sister as an infant. While Faith attempts to come to terms with her family's past, she must rein in rebellious Remy, who's resentful of having to move to a new house and a new school, and deal with her attraction to Internet entrepreneur Pavel Quinn, a man with secrets of his own. Over the course of a year, Faith renovates the house and, in the process, lays down the foundation for her future. Richards's writing is unpretentious and effective ("She'd never had to think about what to say to her daughter. Now every word needed a rehearsal"), and her characters burst with vitality and authenticity despite a dose of sentimentality near the end. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/01/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
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