cover image The Goodbye Cousins

The Goodbye Cousins

Maggie Leffler, . . Bantam, $14 (371pp) ISBN 978-0-385-34047-2

In her sophomore effort, Leffler spins another heartfelt tale about the search for love and acceptance, focusing on minor characters from her debut, The Diagnosis of Love . Di, a young woman with a two-year-old son, was kidnapped as a child by her mother and taken to England. Now, she's returned to the U.S., hoping to finally impose normalcy on her life. After moving in with her cousin Alecia, who's engaged, Di begins working as a nanny for the troubled son of wealthy (and newly single) Augustus Catalano. While staying with the Catalanos, Di also meets their handsome gardener, Dave, and soon finds herself torn by her feelings for the two men. Meanwhile, Alecia's relationship begins to break under the strain of the upcoming wedding and the quotidian pressures of work, family and finances. Struggling with similar emotional scars, the two cousins' attempts to build new families and identities is grounded in loving, complicated relationships. The characters are endearing and the plot straightforward (if sometimes clichéd), making this an excellent summer read. (June)