Jenny McPhee, Author . Free Press $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6072-5

McPhee (The Center of Things ) throws more curveballs than a big league pitcher in this frenetic New York romantic comedy. As the novel begins, Veronica Moore, an up-and-coming soap opera and musical writer, is grappling with the news that her sister, Lillian, a tall, stunning blond neurologist, has engineered her own pregnancy. Alex Drake, the out-of-work actor Lillian seduced, has no idea that he's about to become a father. At the same time, Lillian and Veronica hire Bryan Byrd, a private investigator and jazz musician, in an attempt to uncover secrets that their own father may have been keeping before he died 25 years earlier. When Veronica discovers that the newest actor to grace the set of the show she writes for, Ordinary Matters , is none other than Alex Drake, she is determined to find out if he is the same man who unsuspectingly impregnated her sister. An ill-advised horse-drawn carriage ride turns into a full-blown romance—and Veronica can't find the courage to tell Lillian. Meanwhile, the sisters are being tailed by two detectives, who indirectly uncover secrets in the Moore gene pool that make Ordinary Matters look like classic drama. "Soap operas," Veronica decides, are "even more implausible than musicals," though apparently everyday life can be the most preposterous of all. McPhee's latest is sure to serve as a guilty pleasure for many this summer. 5-city author tour. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June )

Reviewed on: 05/17/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7432-6759-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-0459-0
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7862-6762-0
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