Rated: 3 Stars
BOOKLIST BOOK REVIEW:
*Starred Review* Beloved southern fiction writer Gilchrist returns with her first novel since Sarah Conley (1997), and the legion of fans who appreciate her propensity for using recurrent characters will enjoy the reappearance of the extensive Hand family of North Carolina and Oklahoma. The focus is on three cousins, women, who face making greatly important career and personal-marital-choices against the ubiquitous, unavoidable backdrop of the Iraq War and the terrorist conditions prevalent in the post-9/11 world. Gilchrist brings these three characters into full individual realization while simultaneously connecting them to the bigger pattern that is their shared family history and also to the even bigger national event that fractured lives. The novel's opening event, a wedding, which was to gather all the Hands together, is canceled when the bridegroom perishes in the collapse of the World Trade Center only three months before the nuptials were scheduled to take place. The ripple effect of this family tragedy, and the continued impact of the war in Iraq, on the three cousins' lives gives this novel a humanity easily embraced by the reader. Gilchrist's trademark supple prose and droll sense of humor are on full display. Hooper, Brad.