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A contrived, overplotted romance from Welsh novelist James (Two Loves, 1999, etc.).

After her mother dies unexpectedly, 43-year-old Kate Rivers, a moderately successful actress, returns briefly to the Welsh village where she was raised. Soon her cousin Rhydian and his wife drop by to pay their respects. Rhydian’s mother had always been particularly kind to Kate and her emotionally fragile mother, but Kate’s reaction to Rhydian goes beyond family ties: she feels a passionate chemistry she has never experienced before. Meanwhile, Kate’s live-in lover Paul has his own family crises to keep him from offering her the solace she expects. First, his daughter Annabel is implicated in the drug death of a college classmate. Then, as soon as she’s out of legal danger, her twin sister Selena commits suicide. Kate buries her mother and makes intense, meaningful though rather quick love with Rhydian before heading to Cambridge to help Paul cope. Although Kate claims she has never felt accepted by the twins, Annabel quickly confides not only her sense of guilt about Selena’s death but also the news that she’s pregnant and intends to keep the baby despite having broken off with the father. Annabel also warns Kate, who responds with minimal regret, that Selena’s death has brought Paul and his ex-wife together. Suddenly close, Annabel and Kate return to Wales, where the family has decided to hold Selena’s funeral. Annabel and the young minister who has recently taken over the local church fall head over heels at first sight. Kate and Rhydian decide that although they are soulmates he cannot leave his three children and pregnant wife. And Kate returns to London disconsolate—until she discovers she too is pregnant with Rhydian’s child: her second chance for happiness has come along after all.

Schlock with a lilting accent is still schlock.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-27258-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001


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