SELLING THE LITE OF HEAVEN by Suzanne Strempek Shea

SELLING THE LITE OF HEAVEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shea's first novel offers an entertaining and sympathetic portrait of a woman who must come to terms with her own life when her fiancÉ realizes he wants to make the trip to the altar alone -- to become a priest. Kind, hard-working, handsome Eddie Balicki seemed like a dream come true when he returned to his hometown in western Massachusetts and appeared at church one Sunday morning. Now all the narrator has left of him is a 2.75-karat engagement ring, which she is trying to sell through a personal ad in the Penny Saver. The ad brings to her parents' home a parade of prospective buyers, from a pair of 40ish sisters to Andy Ligawiec, the fellow who might have become her boyfriend in high school (had her mother allowed her to have one), to Randy, who gradually becomes a friend by following up his initial viewing of the ring with more than six months of almost weekly calls. While observing her occasional guests and reviewing highlights of her relationship with Eddie, the narrator casts a perceptive eye over her life as the ""shy, unquestioning daughter who did what she was told."" She explores her Polish-Catholic community and particularly the foibles of her own family, rendering details so vividly that you can all but hear the noise of a house packed with relatives on a holiday and smell the cabbage that cooks almost daily in her mother's kitchen. By the end of the book the narrator, who is anonymous throughout, has become a woman about to create a name for herself. A promising debut that with shrewdness and a lively display of humor reminds us just how much drama there can be in the everyday.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0671798650
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Pocket Books/Paramount