Just Once

Lori Handeland. Severn, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8833-4
RITA Award winner Handeland (When You Wish) ventures into contemporary women’s fiction with a gripping, if predictable, tearjerker. Francesca “Frankie” Sicari, who is “close enough to Social Security to smell it,” is awakened one night by persistent pounding on her front door in Whitefish Bay, Wis. The man standing outside is her ex-husband, Charley Blackwell, to whom she has hardly spoken since their divorce 24 years ago. Charley, a photojournalist, has just returned from a long assignment in Africa. It soon becomes disturbingly apparent to Frankie that, for Charley, the last 26 years have ceased to exist. In his mind, he’s still married to her and not his current wife, Hannah. What follows is a literary duet featuring the two wives. Through flashbacks, readers come to understand how Frankie’s marriage fell apart and how Hannah’s began, as well as a full picture of the peripatetic man who was always on his way to the next dramatic photo assignment, be it a riot, an explosion, or a war. Those who like to run through a full box of tissues in an afternoon will be satisfied. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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