Summer Secrets

Barbara Freethy, Author Onyx Books $6.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-451-41082-5

Eight years ago, Duncan McKenna and his three daughters won a punishing around-the-world-sailboat race. Though Kate, Ashley and Caroline McKenna are haunted by the journey's aftermath, they support their beloved father in keeping its ugly truths hidden. Then reporter Tyler Jamison arrives on idyllic Castleton Island, claiming he wants to write a story about the race. Tyler is actually bent on learning which of the McKenna girls gave birth to a child during it-a child illegally adopted by his brother, who may lose a custody battle if the identity of the birth mother isn't discovered. While Kate and Tyler circle each other in mingled suspicion and sexual attraction, her sisters struggle with Duncan's alcoholism and their own demons. Events reach crisis point during a sudden summer storm that forces the family to confront their fears and lies. Some improbable plot contrivances mar the novel's realistic texture, and the girls' support of their father's destructive dreams often seems disturbing rather than devoted. Despite these lapses, Freethy's (Love Will Find a Way, etc.) zesty storytelling will keep readers hooked, and the sisters' loving but prickly interactions will make anyone with a sibling smile. (May) Forecast: NAL is calling Summer Secrets Freethy's ""breakout book,"" and it very well may be. The book's brilliant blue cover catches the eye, as do blurbs from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Luanne Rice and Susan Wiggs.