cover image Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits

Sarah Strohmeyer. Dutton, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-95222-0

Strohmeyer's lackluster foray into more serious territory (after The Penny Pinchers Club) follows a group of four women who call themselves the "Ladies Society for the Conservation of Martinis" (cocktail recipes are indeed included) in a small Connecticut town. When society member Lynne succumbs to cancer, her three closest friends set out to fulfill her dying wish: to locate her estranged mother and the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was 18, and deliver letters to each containing her last words. The 40-something women%E2%80%94Beth, her father ill and her marriage dull; Mary Kay, who has been lying to her fianc%C3%A9 about her biological baby-readiness; and Carol, who has left her husband to live a more independent life%E2%80%94spend much of the novel on a road trip in search of Lynne's past. Their friendships steady and solid, their emotional stakes never convincing, the women arouse little interest in the reader as they sip their way toward a happy conclusion. Strohmeyer's fans will miss her trademark humor, and readers of women's fiction will find nothing new in this bland tale. (July)