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A pallid exposé of family- and heart-affairs, from third-timer Chepaitis (These Dreams, 2002, etc.).

At 31, Delilah is a bit old to be living with her parents, but, since she has no clear plan, occupying the spare room in a Key West mansion isn’t so bad a way to waste a year or two. Her waitressing job isn’t fulfilling, and neither is boyfriend Thomas, a photographer sponging off her parents and living in their guest cottage. When her mother Lana, an eccentric activist, accidentally discovers the identity of her own birth mother, it’s decided that Delilah will go to upstate New York to see whether the old woman is amenable to meeting Lana. The trip would also allow Delilah to see best friend Monica, and, more importantly, ex-fiancé Michael. Grandmother Carla lives in a rambling old house that’s filled with circus folk from when she herself was a tiger tamer. Inexplicably, Delilah moves in the day she arrives, even though she and Carla have little interaction and even less conversation (Carla has a grouchy temperament), leaving barely a relationship between the two central characters. Instead, the story shifts to Delilah’s tangled love life: There’s Thomas back home in Key West, interested in Delilah only when he needs her to pose for his wacky photographs; there’s Michael, whose past relationship with Delilah was perfect until she found he was a serial cheater; and then there’s Jack. With an eye-patch and a muscled physique, Carla’s hunky neighbor is smart, funny, and also kind, considering all the home repairs he helps Carla with. Jack is the obvious choice for Delilah’s future happiness—especially when she discovers he’s really Carla’s doctor. But Delilah may still have eyes for Michael, who sort of promises he’s changed his ways.

Some lovely meditations on life, death, and the nighttime sky, but the leading ladies remain out of reach, leaving a predictable tale of true love and identity found.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7434-3752-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003


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