Cloud Nine

Luanne Rice, Author, Rice, Author Bantam Books $19.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-553-11063-0
Readers sympathetic to Rice's (Blue Moon) highly sentimental take on the eternal power of love and family will enjoy this skillfully wrought tale of courage on the part of a single mother recovering from a brain tumor. Sarah Talbot, who has built a down-bedding mail-order business (""Cloud Nine"") based on the products of her father's farm in Maine, finds new joy in life's simple pleasures, such as celebrating the 37th birthday she thought she'd never see. Her delight proves infectious to others in her small upstate New York community. They include Susan Burke, also known as Secret or Snow, a troubled teenager from a broken home who is still grieving over the accidental death of her brother; and Susan's father, pilot Will Burke, who is trying to cope with his failed marriage and his inability to save his son. In quiet, unassuming prose, Rice fashions a tightly paced story that is hard to put down, delicately constructing the blossoming relationship between Sarah and Will. At the same time, she effectively depicts the impact a loving person can have on an adolescent simply longing for a real connection with a caring adult. The Talbot family's island home, where Sarah's recalcitrant father and her estranged teenage son live together in a complex relationship, is idealized as a healing environment for the Burkes. The plot veers into melodrama at the end, when love and death meet in a heartbreaking scene, but Rice's message remains a powerful one: the strength of precious family ties can ultimately set things right. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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