cover image Skinny Dipping

Skinny Dipping

Connie Brockway, . . Onyx, $7.99 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-451-41244-7

Set once again in Minnesota and chock-full of eccentric characters, Brockway's latest (following Hot Dish ) centers around the fate of Chez Ducky, the Olson family's century-old summer retreat on the shores of Fowl Lake. With Chez Ducky in desperate need of repair, property taxes rising and palatial homes defiling the once pristine shoreline—like the one next door built by millionaire whiz kid Prescott Tierney—the family decides to sell. Mimi Olson thinks selling is a bad idea, but 40 years of skirting responsibility, organization and commitment of all kinds keeps her from getting it together, despite fond memories of the family's annual skinny dipping. During her farewell visit to Chez Ducky, Prescott and his dad, Joe, have a run-in with a Minnesota snowbank, and suddenly Mimi's in charge of two injured men, three dogs and her pregnant half-sister, who shows up unannounced. While the book moves along at an entertaining pace and the narrative is lively, readers might have a tough time empathizing with the apathetic heroine, even as she discovers her purpose in life. (Jan.)