Gauzy romancer Bradford (Angel, 1993, etc.) offers a middling grabber in which a woman's great loves and happy life are destroyed by violence and death, and she begins the long climb back. Mallory (""Mal"") Keswick is blissfully married to English Andrew and is the mother of preschool twins. The family retreat from New York City, where Andrew is an ad exec, is ""Indian Meadows,"" a classic colonial house in northwestern Connecticut. In 1988, the Keswicks will have been married ten years and are much in love; the twins are adorable; the house and grounds are exquisite -- of a ""gentle serenity,"" Mai thinks. Life is perfect. Then there's a brief trip to London and Claridges, with their suite sporting a fireplace and a baby grand. Life is indeed fine. Trying for a baby and wondering whether Mal's archaeologist father (separated from her mother for ages) will find another mate, and why lovely, kind Diana, Andrew's mother, doesn't remarry, is about all there is to ponder family-wise. From London, the pair visit Diana in her 1563 estate in Yorkshire, where Mai discovers a Tudor-era diary. Then home for Christmas. But in that 1988 December, the unthinkable happens: In one insane instant, Mai's family is gone, shot dead by carjackers. In her agony, Mai plans suicide, but eventually she will be forced to fight through her grief and live again. Along the way, there will be encouragement from Diana -- but also the dear ghostly presences of those she has lost. At the close there is a new career and the promise of a new relationship. The sunshine half of this novel is a fun glide through Beautiful Living, and the dark stuff has a weeper potential for the susceptible. Stronger and simpler than Bradford's recent others.