The author of Best Intentions (1987) offers a rather meandering tale of a 45-year-old Boston-based political consultant whose life turns to mush as she struggles to deal with the ghosts of her Texas childhood. The man in the moon disappears sometimes, H.A.'s father used to tell her, but little girls shouldn't give up hope of seeing him again, because the moon always comes back. Not so the father, unfortunately--he dies when H.A. is five years old, and for decades after, his precocious daughter blames herself for his absence. But longing for her father is not all that drives H.A.--her smart- talking, cigarette-puffing mother and aunts back in Rollins, Texas, form the immutable bedrock of the grown-up H.A.'s self-image as she plows through a series of love affairs and marriages and into a career selling aspiring politicians to the public. Something happens, though, as H.A. approaches middle age and must face her mother's physical and mental decline, the assured death from cancer of her first love and lifelong intermittent lover, the difficulties of initiating yet another love affair--this one with a professional colleague substantially her junior--and the fact that Ralph Stone, the senatorial contender she and the colleague both represent, is turning out to be a world-class liar and sneak. Unsure what went wrong in a life that should have worked out as planned, H.A. flees to Rollins to renew herself in the waters of family solidarity. There, she takes a cue from her female relatives, dealing with one problem at a time until, on the surface at least, satisfying solutions are achieved all around. Vague writing, muddled climaxes and unpredictably seesawing emotions--all mar this well-intentioned midlife-crisis novel.