Sandi Kahn Shelton, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $19.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4000-8295-7

After a childhood spent in thrall to her sex-crazed, manic depressive fortune-teller mother, Maz Lombard is, understandably, a proponent of normalcy. But her carefully constructed family life in New Haven, Conn., collapses when her husband has an affair with the teacher at their daughter's babysitting co-op and then decamps to Santa Fe. Equal parts energetic comedy and earnest domestic saga, this brisk novel by the author of three parenting books hovers somewhat uneasily at a crossroads between poetry and punch line: very funny scenes, such as when Maz's precocious 10-year-old daughter, Hope, makes Maz's potential boyfriend deeply uncomfortable ("Look, just so you know, I do not want a new daddy"), butt up against gritty but mythologized memories of Maz's carnival circuit rounds with her mother, Madame Lucille. The plot thickens when Maz's husband, Lenny, unexpectedly returns to find Maz entwined with a new young lover and Madame Lucille shows up with husband number six for a long-term visit. But when Lenny and Madame Lucille kidnap Hope and whisk her away to Santa Fe, Maz realizes she must once and for all find the courage to defy her past in order to protect her future. Though lovely descriptions often grace the pages, and there are plenty of laughs, readers might feel that Maz is a bit curmudgeonly for a heroine. Agent, Nancy Yost . (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/07/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-307-20980-1
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-1-4000-9730-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-59316-047-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4237-9901-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-59316-325-9
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