cover image Waiting for Katie

Waiting for Katie

Rudolf Steiner, Elizabeth Webster. Severn House Publishers, $29.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-4915-1

Retired but still zesty schoolteacher Isobel Frazier encounters the Broadbent clan when adorable 11-year-old Georgie Broadbent attempts to steal a pint of milk from Isobel's doorstep to provide breakfast for her family. A few days later, Isobel's compassion ignites when she meets Trevor, Georgie's 13-year-old brother, who has been caring for his three siblings as well as his invalid father since the mysterious disappearance of his mother, Katie, eight months before. Isobel learns that despite father Cliff's paralyzing disabilities, the family is accepting only the barest help from social services for fear of being separated. Profoundly moved by the struggling family, Isobel stirs the harried but kindly welfare workers and gets the family the financial and moral support they need. As Isobel's new happiness peaks, however, a missing piece of her past comes calling, sending her to Ireland, where she learns the truth about Katie Broadbent's disappearance. Webster's (Cloud Shadows) prose is graceful, and her characters true. In this goodhearted novel, however, unlikely plot turns and tidal waves of sentiment overwhelm the more subtle aspects of her craft. (Jan.)