cover image Rescue


Anita Shreve, Little, Brown, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-02072-5

In Shreve's smooth if unsurprising latest (after A Change in Altitude), EMT Peter Webster is drawn to a woman he rescues at the scene of a one-car drunk driving accident. Webster is well intentioned, but alcoholic Sheila, with her dangerous history, could prove beyond his efforts to save her, though the two embark on an affair that evolves into marriage and parenthood with the birth of their daughter, Rowan. Sheila's drinking, meanwhile, escalates until she causes another accident, this time with young Rowan in the car, causing Webster to send Sheila away to avoid jail time. Years later, with not a word from long-gone Sheila, Rowan is a typically turmoil-ridden high school senior—moody, her grades slipping, drinking—and her tribulations prompt Webster to reach out to Sheila to help his daughter. Webster and Sheila are more type than character—good-hearted man, damaged woman incapable of love—and the paramedic rescue scenes feel mostly like opportunities for Shreve to show off her research. Still, the story runs like a well-oiled machine and should sate the author's fans. (Nov.)