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Bilston’s sequel to Bed Rest (2006) features an even more wearying topic: colic.

After the birth of baby Samuel, whose gestation mandated the aforementioned rest, his colicky nonstop screaming threatens to rob his power-lawyer parents, Brit transplant Q (short for Quinn) and husband Tom, of the minimal downtime not already preempted by their all-consuming jobs at elite Wall Street firms. When their billionaire friend Paul offers his Connecticut vacation home, Q and Tom welcome the chance to re-evaluate their recession-threatened career paths. Q’s younger sister Jeanie, a newly minted sociologist, arrives from London to babysit, her life in flux: She’s jobless, flatless and soon to be boyfriend-less. In a meet-cute worthy of Desperate Housewives, Paul visits his house, catching Jeanie in the buff. Tom and Q consider buying the small-town law practice of drunken attorney Kent, and while he’s on a bender, they take over a child custody case. The client, naive, impoverished Emmie, is being sued by not-yet-ex-husband Ryan for custody of their son. Although Ryan’s domestic brutality is legendary, he’s got the police in his pocket and serious dirt on Emmie. Angela, her infant daughter by another father, had died of SIDS, Emmie was told, but the death certificate shows that the child died of Reyes syndrome. Since Reyes takes days to develop, only an unfit mother would have failed to seek medical help in the period leading up to Angela’s death. Tom and Q learn that Emmie’s old-fashioned doctor had not only prescribed aspirin (linked to Reyes) for Angela’s cold, but downplayed her worsening symptoms. What to do when doctor, medical examiner and police collude to hide the doc’s negligence? Although the legal subplot has many holes, it is a welcome distraction from the patently contrived obstacles delaying the predictable union of Paul and Jeanie, and saccharine scenes depicting the impossibly pleasant nursing home where Jeanie eventually gets a job.

Arch prose and agreeably flawed characters make this worthwhile despite the flabby structure.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-088994-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2009