GOD BLESS THE CHILD by Ellen Feldman


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Feldman (Rearview Mirror, 1996, etc.) is like your favorite neighborhood take-out restaurant—the fare is reliable, but you—ll likely be hungry again a few hours after eating. Bailey Bender is still young, attractive, and thirtysomething, but unlike many women of her generation she’s given up her career track job in the big city and moved out to the boondocks (well, New York’s version: the Hamptons) to get away from memories of a bad marriage, stressful working conditions, and other perils of urban living. A former TV journalist, she finds peaceful and restorative work at the local bookstore and launches a search for the child she gave up for adoption years before. A circle of women figure prominently in her country life: her mother, who resides in a nearby assisted-living residence but still has the energy and spunk to tell Bailey what she should and shouldn’t do; Maude, the older woman who owns the bookstore, which she started after her children left home; and 14-year-old Nell, who also works in the store (part-time), spends far too much time with her older boyfriend, Kevin Lonergan, and has become something of a surrogate daughter to Bailey. When a lovely Vassar coed is found dead at the home of 20-year-old Charlie, the son of ridiculously wealthy summer residents, Bailey’s instincts kick in and she can’t help herself from getting involved in the mystery. Meanwhile, local yokel Mack MacKinley has his eye on her, and she’s not sure how she feels about the attention, but Mack’s too wrapped up in his relationship with a difficult ex-wife and sulky teenage son to come wooing properly. Eventually, the crime gets solved and its many loose ends sorted out in a manner that seems slightly too neat. There’s no denying the instant gratification of Feldman’s latest treat, though the pleasure doesn—t last. Deft but unmemorable.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-83121-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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