Two sisters, one a marginally successful bookstore owner, the other a recovering drug addict, reunite after 30 years. Problems ensue.
Good girl Lindsay is desultorily involved with a handsome lawyer boyfriend who’s as comfortable as a cardigan sweater—and about as exciting. The slick and evil Heywood Group wants to tear Lindsay from her home overlooking the Pacific and build a resort. In an attempt to boost sales at her bookstore, she arranges for bestselling author Randall Craig to do a signing, but he doesn’t show. A bit later, he appears, apologizes, invites Lindsay out to dinner and eventually reawakens her slumbering eroticism. Randall isn’t as perfect as he appears, however, for he’s hiding a family secret. Meanwhile, bad girl Kerrie Ann, Lindsay’s long-lost sister, turns up with problems of her own: a fight against addiction, a six-year-old daughter in foster care, a failed relationship with a fellow junkie and no job skills. Lindsay hires her sister, a high-school dropout who doesn’t know Judy Blume from Harold Bloom, and Kerrie Ann quickly draws the attention of bad-boy-turned-good Ollie, coffee maker and baker extraordinaire. Much of the narrative concerns Lindsay’s efforts to domesticate her occasionally sluttish sister and Kerrie Ann’s attempt to gain custody of her daughter, now in the capable and loving hands of a successful dentist and his wife who do not want to give the child up. Eighty-year-old former stripper Honi Love, a family friend, provides folk wisdom and comic relief. Is redemption possible for Kerrie Ann? Will the good guys win? Will Randall earn Lindsay’s love? Let’s just say the plot is as predictable as the prose is flat.
One thing you can say about Goudge (The Diary, 2009, etc.): She knows the bestseller formula and sticks to it.