When Widow hit the bestseller lists, its author hit bottom. Under happy circumstances, new fame and new money are tough to handle. Under unhappy ones, they can be devastating. This is the story of Caine's adjustment in the year that followed her first book's success. Widow touched a national nerve because it was an honest, intensely personal emotional history. Lifelines is blurred and out of focus, the chronicle of a blurred and out-of-focus time. One has to feel for the author: not only does she have to cope with the loss of her husband, but she has to raise children and support them as well. Her priorities get twisted. She exhausts herself in a round of promotion tours and speeches and the rigors of her 9 to 5 job. Her children suffer from her absences, in addition to the absence of their father. Her son runs wild and begins to smoke marijuana. Her daughter withdraws. Both children begin to hate the book, and to resent their mother. Finally, Caine knocks herself out in a bathroom fall (the result of too many sleeping pills) and decides to shape everybody up. She sends the boy to boarding school and cooks fried chicken for her daughter's birthday party. Unfortunately, the nerve that was touched so delicately in the first book has been twanged mercilessly in the second.