Eileen Goudge, Author . Viking $24.95 (372p) ISBN 978-0-670-03098-9

An uncanny prescience must have inspired the plot of Goudge's current novel, which seems ripped from recent headlines. The protagonist is Gerry Fitzgerald, a feisty, divorced woman with an intriguing past who played a supporting role in Stranger in Paradise, set in Carson Springs, Calif. Nearly 30 years ago, Gerry was about to take her vows as a nun, but literally fled the altar, pregnant by her parish priest. Now, divorced with two teenage children and an ongoing liaison with symphony conductor Aubrey Roellinger, Gerry is still involved with the church as a beekeeper at the local convent. A deep-seated sadness and curiosity lead her to search for the daughter she gave up for adoption. She and Claire connect, and their reunion is an emotional one. When Claire decides to confront her father, Goudge gingerly explores the Church's response as exemplified in Father Jim's power to ruin Gerry's life once more. Goudge also tackles the issue of adoption and gives a refreshingly unsentimental take on how an adopted child adjusts to newfound family and vice versa. But her forte is portraying how relationships tick, as she explores the connections made by Gerry, Claire and other couples developed in previous novels. Along the way to a traditional happy ending, Goudge packs in plenty of drama and suspense as she continues to flesh out the much-beloved residents of Carson Springs. (June 10)

Forecast:Viking will probably emphasize the timeliness of Goudge's plot; that, plus the familiar Carson Springs setting will no doubt make this another bestseller for Goudge.

Reviewed on: 05/27/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 699 pages - 978-0-7862-4562-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-2924-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-451-20734-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2923-5
Ebook - 402 pages - 978-1-4532-2302-4
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