FAMILIAR HEAT by Mary Hood

FAMILIAR HEAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A first novel from storywriter Hood (And Venus Is Blue, 1986, etc.): an action-packed, upbeat tale of love lost and found in a quirky but warmhearted southern Florida. In a fishing-village setting, Hood's leisurely paced story has at its center the steady loving heart of Faye Parry--the only daughter of a French-Vietnamese woman who married an American, came to Florida, was soon widowed, and supported herself and her daughter by operating the local dry-cleaner. Faye is almost too good to be true, but what could be a cloying goodness is tempered both by the terrible things that happen to this young woman and by her idiosyncratically plucky responses to them. At 19, recently married to Vic Rios, a handsome Cuban exile who runs a sport-fishing business, Faye is taken hostage by bank robbers while depositing Vic's receipts and becomes the innocent victim in a sequence of horrors. Taken out to sea, she's raped, sees a man shot, and then, flung overboard by the one remaining robber, makes her way back to shore. Vic doesn't know the full extent of Faye's trauma and, unable to help her, begins dating other women. Deeply hurt, Faye in turn is comforted by Cristo, a former high-school sweetheart and star baseball player. Then tragedy: Cristo is killed and Faye badly injured in an automobile accident. She loses her memory and has the emotional maturity of a gradeschooler, so must relearn everything she ever knew. But with the help of African-Americans Palma and Jeb; two priests; Vic's brother and indomitable mother; and a cathartic hurricane, the now-mended Faye will again find true love. A remarkably affecting story about ordinary people doing the best they can: a never sentimental or patronizing debut novel, though the good guys mostly win.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1995
ISBN: 0446672742
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Knopf