Good, domestic drama is Rice's chosen field, and she knows every acre of it (Blue Moon, 1993; Secrets of Paris, 1991, etc.). Her sixth novel bears all her usual signposts: family tragedies, great romance, and writing so strong you wish she'd trust it to let her explore new pastures as well. Anne Davis, a young woman still spinning from both the accidental death of her four-year-old daughter and the breakup of her marriage, has left New York City and returned to the New England island where she grew up. On her first night back, a fire breaks out in her childhood home. Anne rushes into the flames to save a memento of her daughter's life and has to be rescued by Thomas Devlin, a firefighter who has scars, both physical and emotional, from an earlier blaze that killed his wife. As the old family place is being rebuilt, Anne slowly, painstakingly, begins to rebuild her own life, too, with the help of Thomas, the well- meaning interference of older sister Gaby, and the general nosiness of the whole island population. A final grisly tragedy allows Anne the chance to help save the life of someone dear to herthe chance she never had when her daughter diedand gives her enough peace to face the future again. As ever, Rice creates fine characters (even if Anne is just a shade too noble to be true), and she writes wonderfully romantic, steaming seduction scenes. While the many tragedies of this latest novel seem laid on with a heavy hand, she shows what she's really capable of in the small moments: the way two sisters talk to each other in a perfect mix of affection and envy; how the smell of smoke gets trapped in an attic's rafters; and, finally, how a child offers a homely, heartrending depiction of paradise. Rice's home fires burn brighter than most, and they leave more than a few smoldering moments to remember.