cover image Conscience Point

Conscience Point

Erica Abeel, . . Unbridled, $24.95 (258pp) ISBN 978-1-932961-53-9

New York concert pianist Madeleine Shaye has it all: a thriving career as a television correspondent, a beautiful adopted daughter in college and a longtime love, wealthy Nick Ashcroft. Violet Ashcroft, Nick's sister, first brought Maddy to their crumbling Hamptons mansion during their 1960s college days, when the girls were trying to avoid marriage and follow their artistic passions to Paris. More than three decades later, Violet has long since disappeared in a void of scandal, but Maddy hopes to resuscitate their dream of establishing an artists' colony. Unfortunately, Nick has been acting distant and dropping hints about wanting a child, even though Maddy is pushing middle age. Before long, daughter Laila announces she's leaving Brown to work in a Guatemalan village, a new producer shoves Maddy aside in favor of a younger competitor, and Nick leaves her for another woman. Maddy soon discovers that these upheavals camouflage a crueler betrayal, one that launches her into a winding journey of revenge and renewal. Abeel's middling fifth novel recasts familiar characters and situations on a new stage, but with the exception of vibrant (but underused) Violet offers little that's fresh. (Oct.)