FOR MY DAUGHTERS by Barbara Delinsky


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Delinsky's first hardcover squeezes a novel out of short-story material about three sisters whose manipulative mother stages an unorthodox family reunion. When she was 27, Ginny St. Clair had an affair with Will Cray, the gardener at Star's End, the home she and her husband rented one summer in Maine. Now 70, she has purchased Star's End and summons her three daughters, who have little to do with one another, to spend two weeks at the house -- without telling them that she won't be there. Caroline, obsessive about her work as a lawyer, is romantically linked with Ben Hammer, an artist who maintains a balanced view of his life. Annette, obsessive about her role as wife and mother (and basically a retread of a character in last year's Suddenly), is married to Jean-Paul Maxime, a neurosurgeon who maintains a balanced view of his life. (Catching the offensive pattern here?) Finally there is Leah, a twice-divorced Washington, DC, socialite, with an insignificant life and no man at all. This means that she is free to meet Will's son Jesse Cray, the current gardener at Star's End, and reenact her mother's romance of decades ago, this time with the requisite happy ending. Delinsky, who has offered adequate portrayals of small-town New Englanders in previous works, disappoints even in this respect. Plain old locals -- those who are not transplants from major cities, or world travelers (like Jesse), or artists who sell ""to kings...and movie stars"" -- are little more than vaudeville-style clowns here. As the story putters along, the sisters, despite years of mutual indifference, become great friends. Meanwhile, dipping into Ginny's old romance, the story sugarcoats the self-centeredness she displays up through her own melodramatic return to Star's End. Bypass this and dig out one of Delinksy's old paperbacks.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1994
ISBN: 0061374555
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins