cover image Wherever Grace Is Needed

Wherever Grace Is Needed

Elizabeth Bass. Kensington, $23 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7582-3512-1

In Bass's well-intentioned but bland second novel (after Miss You Most of All), Grace Oliver must overcome the complicated relationship she's always had with her family. After her parents divorced, Grace went to Oregon with her mother, but yearned to live with her father and half-brothers in Austin, Tex. After her father is injured in an accident, Grace, now 30, finally gets the chance. She goes to Texas to care for him and discovers, to her horror, that this once brilliant college professor is deteriorating from Alzheimer's. Soon entering the picture are her father's neighbors, grieving widower Ray West and his three children: the recalcitrant teen Jordan, the awkwardly blossoming Lily, and the sweet-tempered Dominic. They're a handful, to say the least, and their disparate personalities will draw readers in. Mild conflict arises when Grace's brothers (a journalist and a doctor, both very busy) want to hire a nurse, but Grace would prefer to handle the care herself. Though the tale lacks tension, Bass draws her characters, particularly the adolescents, very well. With so many young people involved, it's good she's good at it. (June)