cover image The Things I Do for You

The Things I Do for You

Mary Carter. Kensington, $15 trade paper (375p) ISBN 978-0-7582-5337-8

In Carter's contrived but touching novel, New York City realtor Bailey Jordan faces a hitch in her plans to raise a family after a car accident and near-death experience leaves her husband, Brad, a changed man. Rather than children, he's determined to start a bed and breakfast, buying a possibly-haunted Hudson River lighthouse with money he's inherited. Furious when Brad does this without asking her, Jordan tries to tolerate his erratic behavior, which only becomes harder after he invites members of his online near-death experience group to stay with them. The couple gradually realizes that for their marriage to survive, they must delve into both their own deepest secrets and those of the lighthouse. Despite an interesting set-up, the story tries to cover too much ground and doesn't satisfactorily resolve its mysteries. Carter, however, realistically depicts her protagonists' marriage, showing how compromise can provide either a relationship's foundation or its stumbling block. (Aug.)