cover image One Week in December

One Week in December

Holly Chamberlin, . . Kensington, $14 (323pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-1405-8

Chamberlin (Tuscan Holiday ) misses the mark with this repetitive chronicle of driven career-gal Becca Rowan’s quest to tell her 16-year-old niece, Rain, that Becca is actually her birth mother. Raised by Becca’s older brother, David, and his wife, Naomi, Rain was conceived by a teenaged Becca who barely knew Rain’s father. The deal was they’d wait until Rain was 21 to tell her the truth, but Becca’s been feeling very lonely, and so she determines to reclaim Rain during the annual family get-together the week before Christmas. And woe be the reader who tags along for this celebration of characters about as sturdy as wet cardboard, lazy writing (“James put his hand gently on Olivia’s arm, as if to calm or comfort her”) and plodding narrative. Without at least engaging characters, none of the goings-on matter much. (Oct.)