cover image Blessings


Belva Plain. Delacorte Press, $19.95 (340pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29754-7

Dependable Plain ( Evergreen ) again deftly explores enduring themes: the various social strata of Jewish life; the complexities of family relationships; the consequences of following a deeply felt social conscience. At 36, Jennie Rakowsky is a lawyer specializing in defending the rights of impoverished women. She is about to marry Jay Wolfe, a widower with three young children, partner in a prestigious Manhattan law firm and, like Jennie, committed to saving the Green Marsh wildlife sanctuary from unscrupulous developers. Jennie's well-ordered life is shattered when the illegitimate daughter she gave up for adoption at birth, now a personable but strong-willed girl of 19 called Jill Miller, appears on Jennie's doorstep. To complicate matters, Jill's father also reappears and creates profound misconceptions that force Jay and Jennie to cancel their wedding. The author stretches an awkward subplot concerning mob-connected real estate developers far too thin, but her mixture of romance, suspense, and deeply felt familial conflicts should leave her fans well entertained. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections; Readers Digest Collection selection. (Aug.)