Have Kleenex near at hand; the heartstrings are plucked nonstop in this vintage Steel, her 49th (after The Wedding). Liz Sutherland, wife of the dashing Jack (also her partner in a divorce law practice) and mother of five great kids, is the happiest of women--until tragedy strikes. On Christmas Eve, the estranged husband of a Sutherland client kills his wife, then Jack, then himself. Steel spares us nothing. She knows the anatomy of grief--abhorrence of the unctuous word ""arrangements""; the cruel return to consciousness each morning. If the metaphors are clunky (a bowling ball on the heart), so be it; Steel's palpable, contagious sincerity wins readers' empathy. At last Liz laughs again, then, inevitably, loves again. Her new amour is Dr. Bill Webster, and they meet when her oldest child, Peter, is injured in a swimming pool accident. Peter cheers on the new romance, and so does Liz's youngest, the developmentally delayed (and charming) Jamie. Teen daughter Megan and her two younger sisters try to derail the relationship, however, and Megan's sass provides a needed counterpoint to much sunniness. Steel's commitment to her main characters is unimpeachable; minor characters fare less well. Distracted Liz almost runs over a woman who then sends flowers instead of suing--a neat start to a relationship that never happens--and the murderer's orphaned children fall out of the plot with unsettling abruptness. Still, Steel's devoted readers will swallow the story in one gulp. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/26/2000 Release date: 06/01/2000 Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 4 pages - 978-0-553-50250-3
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.