Carole Bellacera, Author . Forge $24.95 (381p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0079-9

Bellacera (Border Crossings) sets this pleasingly melodramatic sudser on Capitol Hill and the fjords of Norway. In her 40s, Leigh Fallon appears to have everything: married to a congressman, she has three terrific children and a successful career illustrating children's books. Unfortunately, her boorish husband, Bob, generally ignores her, belittles her successes and refuses to sleep with her. When Leigh discovers that Bob has been cheating on her with his administrative assistant, it's the last straw. She now feels liberated to begin her own affair with Erik Haukeland, the 27-year-old Norwegian exchange student who's been living in the Fallon home and who has made it clear from the day of his arrival that he desires Leigh. As the two fall in love, it spells the overdue end of the Fallon marriage, but there's more trouble ahead. Bob turns the children against their mother and, when Leigh accompanies Erik to Norway, she uncovers secrets that alter the picture entirely. Even after a new man enters her life, Leigh faces further domestic turbulence and heartache. While most of the characterization rings true, Bob's churlish behavior and ultraconservative politics are overdrawn to cartoonish effect, making it hard for readers to understand why sensitive Leigh ever married him. On the other hand, domestic scenes between Leigh and the kids, rendered with casual ease, form a strong counterpoint to the moral problems Leigh must confront. As for the core theme—how one balances responsibility to family with responsibility to oneself—it should resonate with readers, many of whom are confronted with the same question on a daily basis. Border Crossings was a finalist in two categories for the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award; this new novel is written with similar assurance. Author appearances in Virginia. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 680 pages - 978-0-7862-3972-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-7653-4029-0
Paperback - 514 pages - 978-1-4812-2303-4
Show other formats
Discover what to read next