An enjoyable, if slightly implausible, account of four friends who face unimaginable tragedies yet maintain their sense of...


In this novel by a forensic and rehabilitation psychologist, four women cope with serious challenges during their journey from college to grandmotherhood.

Sarah Brightenham awakens from her coma to find a strange woman in a candy striper uniform in her hospital room claiming to be awaiting the arrival of the patient’s sister. Nicole Fielding, as it turns out, is in the same literature class as Sarah and is eager to prevent her from being forced to enter the psychiatric ward after her overdose. Nicole enlists the help of Rebecca Trumble to pretend to be Sarah’s sister and caretaker. Nicole and Rebecca introduce Sarah to another friend, Clair Coleman. As the four women share their stories and plot revenge on football player Bo, who raped Sarah (precipitating her suicide attempt), they forge a friendship that will last throughout their lives. As each woman encounters a life-altering event, their bond deepens as the other three help her through the catastrophe. Eventually, they add husbands and children to their group, with Clair’s and Sarah’s families later united through marriage. All four women are successful in their chosen fields. But Clair’s three cohorts find her obsessive mothering alternately annoying and lifesaving, as her common-sense approach helps Rebecca discover the truth behind a psychotic break. The engrossing tale concludes as the four women travel first to New York City and then England together to find closure to the biggest crises they have dealt with. The character development is slow in Cools’ (Sometimes a Father, 2017, etc.) novel. With the exception of Sarah, whose story is the first one to be told, the other three women are virtually indistinguishable until they become the focus of the narrative. Even then, Rebecca’s and Nicole’s tales (attempted murder by a vengeful former boss, and the amputation of a foot due to diabetes, respectively) pale in comparison to Sarah’s and Clair’s gripping stories of abuse and loss. Some of the dialogue among the women is too contrived and unrealistic while the endlessly supportive yet one-dimensional spouses stretch credulity (perhaps because all four are improbable dream husbands).

An enjoyable, if slightly implausible, account of four friends who face unimaginable tragedies yet maintain their sense of fun.

Pub Date: March 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4960-5684-9

Page Count: 362

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?


Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet