cover image Hourglass (Trade Size)

Hourglass (Trade Size)

Elizabeth Gage. Harlequin, $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-503-0

Fans of Gage (Confession) are apt to be divided on her tale of three friends whose pubescent pact of lifelong ""threeness"" defines their lives. In this novel, her prose is uncharacteristically heavy, and the narrative meanders. The action derives from a promise made on a moonlit golf course in a small Maine town when the three are 13 years old and vow that, 15 years hence, they will meet in the same spot. The promise is kept by coincidence, only one of the romantic plot devices here that stretch believability. Not that there's much for the reader to believe in the male member of the threesome: Jordan Brady is a rich guy out of central casting, without sufficient distinguishing marks. But Gage, typically, has created two interesting female protagonists who don't quite inhabit their own skins: the gallant but troubled Lily France and the orphaned narrator, Kate, whose last name is never given. Gage's pacing is artful, however, as she uses flashbacks to reveal first one and then another of the many hidden truths about those two freighted nights. Alas, there's so much darkness in the twisted tunnel, so much loss, sorrow, misdirected love and tragic death, that only readers who prefer a good cry before the bittersweet ending will make it through. (Mar.)