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Single Oklahoma mom with psychic abilities journeys to Santa Fe in this sequel to The Saints and Sinners of Okay County (2004).

Though she’s spent much of her life denying her gift, Aletta Honor is dismayed in 1977 to find her powers failing just when she needs them most. With four kids to feed and little help from hard-drinking ex-husband Jimmy, she has no means of supporting her family except by giving psychic readings. But Aletta’s visions vanish shortly after an Indian man from New Mexico and his daughter drive up to her house and present her with an eagle feather. Around the same time, her long-lost cousin Vee arrives in town for an unexpected visit and offers the surprising information that their great-grandmother Adelaide was a full-blooded Indian. Inspired to learn more about this ancestor and to track down the man who gave her the feather, Aletta piles into her Gran Torino and sets out with three girlfriends for a Santa Fe adventure, leaving Vee with the kids. Her mystery man turns out to be Julian Mochino, part-time shaman, part-time tour guide and full-time schoolteacher. Aletta immediately bonds with the attractive widower, who introduces her to some tribal elders. They convince her to go on a solo quest to learn more about Adelaide’s fate. At this point, Dunbar’s story meanders into murky metaphysical territory, with spirit guides and visions slowing the plot’s momentum. Her challenging personal test gives Aletta a renewed sense of purpose and faith in her abilities. Back home, unlikely babysitter Vee has some revelations about her troubled past, even as it catches up with her. Meanwhile, Jimmy finally decides to get some help for his drinking problem. His harrowing experience with Alcoholics Anonymous spurs him toward performing an unselfish act for his children, paving the way for a new, improved Jimmy in the next installment in the Okay County series.

Appealing characters and humor help balance the farfetched New Age hokum.

Pub Date: March 28th, 2006
ISBN: 0-345-46043-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2006