But I Love You Anyway

Sara Lewis, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-15-100160-6
In her charming and deceptively breezy second novel, Lewis (Heart Conditions, 1994) stakes further claim to the fictional territory defined by Laurie Colwin. Set in San Diego, the plot presents the romantic misadventures of a pair of 40-ish sisters, Mimi and Eve Burke, who own and run a small mail-and-parcel shop. At Eve's wedding to John, an unemployed restaurant manager with a mysterious source of income, Mimi, who narrates, collapses into tears (""I'm forty years old, I've been married twice, and I've never had a white dress or a honeymoon""). Soon, a third potential mate comes into Mimi's life, however, in the form of Henry, who's 12 years younger and ""five inches shorter"" than she. But Mimi's joy at newfound love is threatened by a series of crises that begins when John is arrested for embezzling from his former employers and escalates with an unpleasant discovery about Henry and the arrival of some stiff business competition in a nearby mall. Lewis tracks the ups-and-downs of her well-drawn characters with graceful prose and winning humor. The novel's romantic resolution may lack realism and leak sap but, even so, in this winsome tale Lewis displays her rare ability to capture the emotional lives of characters. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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