LYNELLE BY THE SEA by Laurie Lico Albanese


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An overwritten first novel with a high emotional pitch tells of two very different women whose lives briefly intersect, and are changed forever, when one, mourning her own losses, steals the other’s baby. Lynelle, despite her happy marriage to Hogan, is still hurting from the death of her mother, Grace, when she was a child in Florida. Now living in New Jersey, she names her newborn Grace, but the child dies from sudden infant death syndrome. Unable to deal with this new grief on top of her old sorrows, Lynelle goes to Florida for healing comfort. Meanwhile, in Illinois, Annie, wife of successful executive David and mother of Nick, Sophie, and baby Dylan, works as a volunteer at a battered women’s center while studying for her master’s. Yet she feels frazzled and tired, and though she loves Dylan dearly, she hadn—t wanted a third child’she—d wanted instead to make a life for herself. She hopes her upcoming visit to Florida to see her ailing father will restore her. Told in alternating chapters, the two women’s tales are filled with would-be profundities: “[H]e understood me in a funny roundabout kind of way. The only way anyone can understand another person, by looking sideways, around the face we put on for the world.” In Florida, Lynelle impulsively makes off with Dylan, whom Nick has momentarily left alone, and heads to her old home, only to find all the familiar landmarks gone. When Dylan is discovered missing, Annie is distraught, Nick feels guilty, and David, usually in control, can’t handle the crisis. The baby is soon found, and Lynelle is arrested, but Annie, relieved that Dylan is safe, wants to meet his kidnapper. A meeting ensues, with unexpected consequences for both of them. Now they can move on, having learned that being loved and forgiven matters, that life is filled with “love and pain, with loss and discovery.” Pulp fiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2000
ISBN: 0-525-94536-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999