cover image BLESSINGS: A Novel


Anna Quindlen, , read by Joan Allen. . Books on Tape, $54 (, unabridged, five cassettes, 7.5 hrs., $54 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-7366-8780-5

Quindlen's novel of redemption and second chances is given a warm, sympathetic reading by Allen. Skip Cuddy is one of life's losers: abandoned by his parents as a child and railroaded by so-called "friends" into a crime that wasn't his fault as an adult. But he's content with his new job as caretaker of Blessings, the estate of elderly, isolated Lydia Blessing. When a frightened unwed teenager leaves her newborn by Skip's garage apartment (instead of the estate's front door, as planned), Skip finds a new lease on life in taking care of the infant. And when Lydia discovers the baby and agrees to help Skip raise her, she too finds new meaning in life, as well as a mutually rewarding friendship with Skip. (Of course, eventually the baby's mother wants her back.) Allen's voice is filled with compassion, and she does a fine job differentiating the characters. Particularly memorable are the voices of elderly Lydia Blessing; Korean maid Nadine; and Chris, a sleazy, manipulative friend of Skip's. Simultaneous release with the Random hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 26). (Sept.)