Allen's 27th novel details the generally unremarkable lives of two Canadian sisters, from their miserable Toronto childhood to one sibling's success in London as the owner of a chain of copy shops: a ho-hum Cinderella tale in which the bad guys may be repulsive, but the good guys are fatally dull. Since her early 20s, when her husband abandoned her with two young children to raise, Maggie--Faye and Louise Parker's beautiful mother--has hated men. Depending for emotional gratification on sporadic trysts with her boss at the Toronto umbrella factory where she works, Maggie works out the rest of her frustration by verbally and physically abusing her intelligent, well-behaved daughters. Still, Faye and Louise manage to hang onto their self-respect until their teen years, when, as Maggie takes up a more lucrative career as a call girl, the sisters flee to the welcoming arms of their saintly grandmother. Unfortunately, though, the rescue proves too late for Faye: the sensitive girl's dreams of a quiet home and family with her longtime boyfriend, Raffle, are forever destroyed when Faye dies of a botched, illegal abortion. Grief-stricken and virtually alone at age 18, Louise strikes out for London to put her miserable past behind her, but finds she can't enjoy her own brighter fate--a close circle of friends, success in business, and the love of a middle-aged obstetrician--until she's solved the mystery of Faye's pregnancy and death, and made peace with the powerful forces in her past. Bland, sensible characters and endless pages of descriptive detail smother the plot's dramatic potential. Leftover dreams, in this case at least, don't make for a satisfying meal.