cover image Second Nature

Second Nature

Jacquelyn Mitchard. Random, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6775-6

Mitchard's (The Deep End of the Ocean) fans are familiar with the Cappadoras, a family that has suffered the most improbable tragedies. This time out they enter the story through Sicily Coyne, a young woman who lost her face and her father in a tragic fire. Though her indomitable spirit (and the help of spitfire aunt Marie Caruso) has helped her recover, and even thrive, her world collapses again when she discovers that her fianc%C3%A9 was partially responsible for starting the fire and is with her only out of guilt. As their relationship ends, Sicily begins a transformation with Dr. Eliza Cappadora, who gives her a total face transplant, a radical procedure that photographer Beth Cappadora chronicles with her camera. Soon after, moody filmmaker Vincent Cappadora becomes Sicily's lover. But a passionate week in L.A. leaves Sicily pregnant and facing some serious choices. Compounding matters is Vincent's vacillation about their relationship and Sicily's difficulty in navigating a world where she's no longer perceived as a freak. Though readers unfamiliar with Mitchard's previous novels may not appreciate the connections to the Cappadoras, they will embrace Sicily, a strong and extremely empathic heroine whose disfigurement is made clear without being overdone. Though Mitchard's choice to move between tenses can confuse, this is a riveting tale. (Sept.)