Short-story writer Segal’s first novel—while an astute study of the internal chaos resulting from a shipwreck survivor's effort to recover from the loss of her entire family—also offers a few less-appealing manipulative turns. The collision between her family's yacht and a Russian fishing boat off the coast of Australia landed Eve in the hospital with a back injury and too much time to think about her dead husband, son, and daughter. Out of nowhere comes an aging diva, who just happens to offer a guest cottage at her place in upstate New York where Eve can recover away from the prying eyes of the press who have sensationalized her story. Brava! And the deal comes with a brooding young composer, Noah, in residence to complete an opera that will ensure the diva's lasting fame. As months pass Eve and Noah find a tentative peace, and she heals enough that she can accept a lucrative book deal. Eventually, the jealous diva stirs up trouble and the idyll ends, but not before Eve has begun to write the story of what she lost at sea.
Most everything to do with Eve's emotional state rings poignantly true, but the cardboard characters surrounding her ensures that she won't escape the conventions of melodrama.