SOMEBODY'S BABY by Elaine Kagan


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A third novel from film/TV actress Kagan (Blue Heaven, 1996, etc.), who this time out transforms now-prosaic subject matter—an adopted woman in search of her birth parents—into an erotic, albeit tragic, romance of love lost and finally regained. It’s 1959, and Jenny Jaffe shares an all-consuming passion with Will McDonald, a California drifter who has jail time under his belt and an eagle tattooed on his chest—just the kind of boy a nice 17-year-old Jewish girl should avoid. His raw sex appeal initially attracts her, but it’s his utter devotion that captures her heart. Jenny becomes pregnant, and the couple decide to elope. Jenny waits at the appointed time—but Will never shows up. What follows are a couple of botched suicide attempts by Jenny, a home for “wayward girls” in Los Angeles, a lovely baby given away, and a life forever haunted by the memory of her lost Will. The story next picks up the adult life of Claudia, the child Jenny gave up, raised in L.A. by an affluent Catholic couple. Claudia’s dreams of the “other mother” plague her, especially since the birth of her own daughter. With the help of a detective, she tracks Jenny to New York, though with great trepidation—largely because of the repercussions the reunion may have on her parents. Jenny, it turns out, has made a life as a dancer but now, in her 50s and locked in a loveless marriage, is somewhat adrift. Claudia also goes in search of Will, and discovers him living quietly on a ranch at the base of the Sierra Nevadas. Married five times, Will has never forgotten Jenny (there’s a good reason for his long-ago no-show), and now finally, with the help of their own grown daughter, reconciliation seems a possibility. In all, and against the odds, a passionate and emotionally charged tale. (Film rights to United Artists/Frank Mancuso; Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-15745-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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