cover image Hand-Me-Down


Lee Nichols, . . Red Dress Ink, $12.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-373-89523-6

After growing up in the shadow of sisters Charlotte, a stunning swimsuit model, and Emily, a brilliant feminist scholar, 29-year-old Anne Olsen has a natural aversion to anything secondhand—and that especially includes her sister Charlotte's ex-boyfriend Ian, who's a cute, available antiques dealer. But despite her deep fear of ancient rugs and her lasting case of VD ("Vague Dissatisfaction"), this namesake to the least remarkable of the Brontë sisters proves an irresistible heroine in Nichols's second novel (after Tales of a Drama Queen ). Anne's zany enthusiasm for life, evidenced in her ill-fated attempt at window design during her brief employ at Banana Republic, or her efforts to preserve a tract of pristine Santa Barbara property while working at her boyfriend Rip's real estate office, will warm readers' hearts, as will her genuine love for her superstar sisters. No bitter edge spoils the sweetness of Nichols's delectable tale, which heats up when Anne announces her love for Rip but can't shake the feeling that Ian might just be a better fit. Nichols is one of chick lit's brightest lights, and here she delivers a funny, utterly winning story of family, love and self-discovery. Agent, Nancy Coffey. (June)