Donna Hill, Author . St. Martin's $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-28193-9

A woman fights to recover from old trauma and recent tragedy in Hill's (An Ordinary Woman ) overwrought and sometimes overwritten novel. Six months after the car crash that killed her husband and daughter, documentary filmmaker Rayne Holland lies, mute, in a Savannah, Ga., mental hospital, recovering from a suicide attempt. Rayne's lifelong friend, Gayle Davis, tries to care for her, even as she experiences her own guilt, as well as a fascination with Rayne that strains her marriage. Thanks to therapy with psychologist Pauline Davis and a nascent friendship with hospital landscaper Robert Parrish, Rayne begins to improve, but her difficult father, William Mercer, remains curiously uninterested in her recovery. Rayne's friends tackle their own demons: Gayle struggles with feelings of inadequacy, while Robert harbors bitterness toward his long-absent father. When Pauline learns that Rayne is scheduled for electroshock therapy, she smuggles Rayne from the hospital; Gayle agrees to hide her friend, knowing this may damage the fragile peace she's recently established with her husband. When Rayne decides to confront William, he admits a terrible truth, and Rayne gains an unexpected ally in her stepmother. However, only after Rayne and Gayle have a long-overdue emotional exchange is Rayne's healing complete. Hill's characters have frustratingly little insight into their motives, and the resolution of terrible traumas comes too easily. Fans of the Essence bestselling author might enjoy this offering, but newcomers may find the makings of a made-for- television movie. (Jan. 21)

Reviewed on: 12/08/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-30727-1
Hardcover - 461 pages - 978-0-7862-6945-7
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-4239-7
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