What Matters Most

Nicole Suzanne Bokat, Author New American Library $12.95 (299p) ISBN 978-0-451-21948-0
In this moving follow-up to Redeeming Eve, Bokat's heroine, magazine writer and single mother Georgie Merkin, has just lost her beloved father, Adam, to cancer. Relations with her cold, critical mother, Estelle, are frostier than ever, especially with family members dropping hints about a secret Estelle has been keeping from her daughter. A lonely Georgie has a rendezvous with her oblivious, unavailable ex-husband Lucas-an indulgence that has high emotional costs-but eventually decides to take a chance on kindly, thoughtful veterinarian Ian, whose own divorce is still pending. Bokat does a superb job of tackling the tensions that burden relationships, whether they're romantic or familial. Her technique for getting the reader to initially revile then later understand Estelle, however, is clunky: the author delves 43 years into the past and switches point-of-view in the middle of the book to disclose the secret Estelle's been harboring, an unfortunate narrative decision that slays the story's momentum. Once Bokat returns to the present in the final third, the book deftly navigates Georgie's coming to terms with her mother's secret and her own personal demons. Another well-rounded offering from Bokat that readers of women's fiction will enjoy.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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