After suffering a recent foray into the horror genre by Thayer (Spirit Lost, 1988), most of the author's loyal fans will welcome this story of infidelity between husband and wile, and, more interestingly, between female friends, her seventh in a chain of novels that began with Stepping. Here, the leading character is pure Thayer trademark--a warm, smart, patient but much-wronged middle-aged woman named Daphne Miller. As the book opens, her teenage daughter, Cynthia, has deserted her for her remarried father in California, and Daphne has lost her house in Westhampton, Mass. (where she serves as secretary in a college English Department). Meanwhile, across the Vermont road from her new place, Jack Hamilton, a young professor from Kansas, moves in with his spoiled with and daughter. Despite the age difference, Daphne and Jack are instantly attracted to each other. But Daphne resists, and in flashbacks we learn why: Some 15 years ago, her own husband had an affair with her best friend. Laura Kraft, a betrayal that for a time bitterly corroded Daphne's life. In the end, an illicit embrace in the office between Daphne and Jack (discovered by department head, Hudson Jennings) will set both of them back on the right track and precipitate a long-overdue marriage for Daphne--with her old friend Hudson. Thayer's focus on important issues is soft and emotional, and, as usual, her heroines tend to engineer their own martyrdom. Nonetheless, she returns to good stuff here--how women are just as capable of perfidy as men, and how they ought to do their best lo pioneer one another. Of likely appeal, then, to the old Thayer audience.