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This light but charming follow-up to Copper Crown (1991) is the whimsical story of a Southern California healer, her female clients, and their effect on her angelic daughter's first love affair. It took the love of a lifetime to transform Ann McCafferty, a Protestant counselor living in the California suburb of Marbury Park, into Anna de la Senda, a psychic healer whose house is filled with painted icons and chirping birds and whose circle of clients, the Lovelorn Women, drop in once a week for tea and sympathy. Anna's beloved husband, a house painter named Cristobai, converted her to Catholicism and also taught her to appreciate the mystical -- before bolting back to his first family in Mexico. Since then her life has focused on their ethereal daughter, Mariela, who is now 18 and in love herself for the first time. Anna is not pleased to learn that the object of Mariela's passion is Addison Ettinger, son of the rich, arrogant, recently widowed doctor next door; she foresees that the unequal liaison will bring sorrow to her daughter. When Dr. Ettinger asks Anna to counsel him in his grief, however, the healer soon finds herself falling in love with her patient, and it is all she can do to reject him when her prophecy comes true. Soon after Addison escapes to a writer's colony in New Mexico, Mariela learns she's pregnant. Anna suffers while her daughter grieves and eventually loses the baby. Life seems to be turning out tragically for all concerned until the Lovelorn Women come to the rescue -- retrieving Addison from his hideaway, giggling and chattering among themselves while they wait for the de la Senda women and their lovers to reunite. An endearing tale, though von Herzen's characters are, for the most part, familiar members of the magical realism roster.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1994
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton