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by Danielle Steel

Pub Date: June 20th, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-33306-4
Publisher: Delacorte

A wife and mother puts the pieces back together after her husband is murdered.

Liz and Jack Sutherland are successful divorce lawyers who live in Marin County, California, with their five children. On Christmas morning, the enraged husband of a client shoots Jack dead. In her typical singsong style, Steel (Granny Dan, 1999, etc.) takes Liz and her kids into the unthinkable horror of losing the person they love most in the world and then leads them pretty quickly out. Liz is helped through the following year by her best friend Victoria, her secretary Jean, and her housekeeper Carole. Nonetheless, in true soap-opera fashion, she shoulders most of the burden herself. Although she's grown to dislike dealing with people's nasty divorces, she stoically takes on a double caseload. She helps all her kids—especially her youngest child Jamie, a learning-delayed boy whose brain was damaged at birth—deal with the death of their father. When it comes time for the Special Olympics, an annual occasion for Jamie, Liz takes over Jack's job as trainer, coaching Jamie to his first winning medals ever. After an agonizing nine months of learning to sleep alone, Liz meets Dr. Bill Webster, the trauma doctor who helps her teenaged son Peter recover from a diving accident that left him with a head injury. Though Bill has always avoided long-term commitment, he can't help but be impressed by Liz's grit and her love for her family. Her daughter's resistance to him temporarily scares Bill off, but another Christmas finds him ready to take on carpooling with the manliest of them.

This time out, Steel makes an intelligent choice of subject matter—and only occasionally threatens to treacle it to death.