Karen Kingsbury, . . Multnomah, $11.99 (344pp) ISBN 978-1-57673-899-3

Kingsbury brings back characters from her inspirational novels Waiting for Morning and A Moment of Weakness in this rushed sob story rife with clichés. It opens as Hannah Bronzan sits beside the gravestones of her former husband, Tom, and daughter Alicia, telling her dead loved ones of her decision with new husband Matt to adopt a little girl, four-year-old Grace Landers. " 'One more thing, honey. When we bring her home and... people ask me how many girls I have...' Hannah wiped at her tears again. 'I'll always tell them three. Two who live here with me... and one who lives in heaven.'" She's not the only one who grieves. Her friend, Jade Eastman, has learned she's finally pregnant, but a cancerous brain tumor forces her to make a decision about carrying her pregnancy to term. Their "good-looking, powerful husbands" (yes, this is an actual quote) run the nation's most prominent religious freedom law firm and take on a groundbreaking case. Troubles for the two couples snowball right through the final pages. The novel is permeated with contrived situations, gushy hospital bedside scenes and sweeping stereotypes. For example, people who are "liberal, artsy... in entertainment or academia" are presented as opponents of God. Characters sob, cry or are teary-eyed on almost every other page, but the reader's eyes remain resolutely dry. As Jade's husband reflects at one point, "The whole scene felt like a poorly scripted TV drama." Enough said. (Apr.)