A sturdy if unremarkable novel from the author of A Gentleman's Guide to the Frontier (1990) and In a High Place (1981). Meschery relates, in the first person and present tense, the story of Hedy Castle, a contemporary housewife who takes her life- -and the many conflicts that arise in it—one day at a time, ending up content and stable. Hedy is a border station employee who regulates the importation of pests into Northern California; she wishes she had as much control over her personal trials. Her husband, Ward, has been seized with his trademark wanderlust, leaving her to cope with their teenage daughter Jen's coming of age and the decline and eventual death of Hedy's ailing father, Reverend Gallagher. Already involved in the community and in her daughter's school (both run by Bible-thumping conservatives), Hedy volunteers to be the statistician of her daughter's varsity basketball team, the Lady Miners. That brings her back in touch with Pink Lindstrom, the feisty, forthright sports journalist who twice saved her life and who has fallen for her. The spirited, funny banter that leads to their love affair is one of the high points of the book, but the self-righteous townspeople see nothing admirable in married Hedy's escapades. When she tells a local gossip that she is pregnant (to protect her daughter's friend Tara, whom she accompanied to an abortion clinic), her life is only complicated further. But easygoing, tolerant, and humble Hedy lets the anger of a town afraid of lesbians, abortion, and unconventional lifestyles pass over her, emerging stronger in the end. Meschery's novel is like a small gift wrapped up in a big box: the story, though enjoyable, rattles around inside the reader's inflated hopes for it.
Read full book review >