Katherine Stone, Author . Mira $22.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55166-875-8

At the start of Stone's rhapsodic, over-elaborate romance, a young Mexican immigrant named Rafe is hired as trainer of the show horses kept at FoxHaven Farm in Virginia. FoxHaven is the home of two young women, 17-year-old Brooke and 15-year-old Lily, raised as sisters and the "stars" of the novel's title, so dubbed by Lily's adoring father. Rafe and college-bound Brooke, a horse lover, become instant friends. Lily, a longtime sufferer from illnesses that have mystified doctors, returns home from a stay in a Swiss clinic, apparently cured at last. She is as pretty and ethereal as Brooke is handsome and strong, and the reader knows Rafe will be attractive to and attracted by both. But tragedy strikes: one gun and two deaths make both girls orphans. Brooke, traumatized, flees to the West Coast; Lily, sole heir to FoxHaven, remains, with Rafe as special friend. Twelve years later, Brooke has acquired a doctorate and is now a brilliant archeologist. During a brief return to the farm en route to a dig in Cairo, she discovers suspicious evidence regarding Lily's childhood illnesses. The unraveling of all the mysteries surrounding the lives of the two girls begins and Rafe is destined to face his dilemma. Unfortunately, the convoluted plot, the dialogue sprinkled with italicized introspection ("When I'm with you I feel like a ballerina. She couldn't tell him that...") and lengthy medical analyses (Stone, author of 17 novels, is also a physician) make a confusing read out of what might have been an engrossing story. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/26/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-1-55166-954-0
Hardcover - 403 pages - 978-0-7862-4207-8
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