cover image The Geometry of Sisters

The Geometry of Sisters

Luanne Rice, . . Bantam, $25 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80513-0

The prolific Rice contemplates class, family and math in this disappointing outing. After her husband dies and her eldest daughter, Carrie, runs away, Maggie Shaw moves her remaining brood—level-headed Travis and troubled Beck—from Ohio to Newport, R.I., where she will teach English at the prestigious Newport Academy, where the kids also enroll. Apathetic Beck strikes up an easy friendship with Lucy, who hopes her mathematical prowess will somehow help her bring back her own dead father. Rice’s simple writing style suits the kids well, but doesn’t work as well with Maggie, who has mixed feelings about reconnecting with her estranged sister. All the while, Maggie continues to search for the missing Carrie, who eventually steps onto the page to deliver her side of the story. Beck warms up as the narrative progresses, but the plot becomes increasingly and pointlessly convoluted, lending a soap opera feel to an initially promising setup. It starts strong, but falters and never recovers. (Apr.)