The subject of this book is a mother's pride, but it doesn't go far enough in proving that the pride is pardonable. Ethel Gorham lost a budding-painter daughter in a car accident in France in 1976. The accident doesn't occur until the book is four-fifths over, making the embarrassed reader a thumb-twiddling witness to mother and daughter's cloying reunion in Paris. (""Don't you love it? Isn't it the most bluey of blues?"" they chirp.) Restaurants closed for summer, classic chic black dresses, and snatches of everyday intellectual conversation are punctuated with bursts of a mother's foreboding, while the closeness of the relationship is more insisted upon than communicated. Daughter Abigail's eventual death does provide a sympathy-grabbing outlet for the book, but grief is more easily extended to the situation (doting mother, unfulfilled youthful promise) than to the individuals. Oddly enough, one comes to believe in the authenticity of Gorham's expressed feelings, yet her vision of her daughter remains private and ultimately remote.