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 Hooper's latest paranormal romance (After Caroline, 1996, etc.) tackles reincarnation in a modern southern gothic mode, with lots of coupling in the gazebo. The benighted Kilbourne family has not known a natural death in 150 years. No one dies in bed, and all the men seem to meet their maker somewhere before middle age. At an improbable super- duper garage sale at the magnificent Kilbourne estate in Atlanta, Laura Sutherland buys a small hand mirror made in 1800. Laura has always been obsessed with mirrors, though she doesn't know why, any more than she understands her other eccentricities: her refusal to cut her red hair, for example, and a dislike of Christmas. Right after handsome Peter Kilbourne offers to buy back the antique mirror from her, he's murdered, and Laura immediately becomes a suspect. In order to clear herself, she visits the Kilbournes--and runs right into panther-like Daniel Kilbourne, virtual head of the family. Her reaction to him is something beyond chemical: It's immediate and cosmic, and apparently Daniel feels the same. Meantime, he's involved in a power struggle with the family matriarch, Amelia, who asks Laura to stick around and paint her portrait. During stormy nights at the Kilbournes', Laura and Daniel become lovers. (Two other romances also play out amid the search for Peter's killer.) And while all this is happening, a college student is researching the colorful history of the mirror. In no time at all, the reseacher discovers that it has always been owned by lovers: not just garden-variety married couples, but passionate, inseparable beloveds who meet mainly because of the mirror. Could it be that the same two lovers have been reincarnated, and then re-reincarnated, over the past two centuries? Despite the adult sex and good surprise ending: a treacly adolescent affair, just a few steps beyond paper dolls and Barbie.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-553-09949-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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