cover image Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

Patricia Scanlan. Dell Publishing Company, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-440-21277-5

Childhood friends Cassie, Aileen and Laura are bound by ties forged at Saint Imelda's girls' school in Port Mahon, Ireland. From the outset, they are an endearing trio, but it is Cassie Jordan's story that drives the plot. The eldest of five children, Cassie is forced to make sacrifices-taking a job that offers security but not much excitement, caring for her aged mother-while Aileen, Laura and others move in and out of Cassie's life, offering glimpses into other worlds. The story moves to Dublin and London, from the world of banking to the backbiting arena of gossip columnists, making for a tale that never falters as Cassie finally is freed to pursue her own life. Scanlan (City Girl) keeps her readers involved through a supporting cast that adds humor, glitz, romance and plenty of spice. Part of the novel's charm is its study of the contrasts between a quiet village existence and the demands of modern life. This tale of one woman's determined efforts to find herself will have readers cheering both for the heroine and the author. (Nov.)