From Publishers Weekly
Emotional crises abound in Samuel's second novel (after No Place Like Home), set in the deceptively peaceful hills around Taos, N.Mex. Luna McGraw, who still wears her AA pin, lost custody of her daughter, Joy, eight years ago; at 15, Joy is about to come live with her again, and Luna is nervously trying to quit smoking, get her life in order and be an upstanding parent-or at least look like one. Thomas Coyote, Luna's new love interest, is still reeling from his former wife's affair with his own brother. Joy is fascinated by her mother's free-spirited life and the budding relationship with Thomas, but she misses her stepmother and stepsiblings. She's also furious with her philandering father, who has cheated on both of his wives. Luna's mother, Kitty, though now happily married to a loving millionaire, is still haunted by memories of Luna's father, who walked out on the family decades ago. Luna's sister, Elaine, has a poor self-image and a weight problem. Even Joy's new friend, Maggie, is struggling with her own mother's severe depression and her grief over her father's accidental death. Samuel is adept at keeping the tone light in spite of this unrelieved angst, though some may still find the novel a bit overwrought. Her use of Maggie's diary entries to tie up the story's loose ends also strikes an amateurish chord. Yet the humorously self-effacing characters and sensitive exploration of family relationships ensure the book's appeal to readers of women's fiction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Luna McGraw, a recovering alcoholic and former counselor, supports herself by working in the florist department of the local grocery store. Thomas Coyote, a twice-divorced adobe maker, collects strays, both human and animal. He and Luna cross paths at the same time that Luna's 15-year-old daughter moves in with her after an eight-year absence. Now Luna has to fight her overwhelming need for liquor and cigarettes, as well as her attraction to Thomas, while she comes to grips with her daughter's being very much attached to her stepmother. Samuel (No Place Like Home) has created truly three-dimensional characters, filled with flaws, strengths, and idiosyncrasies. (The reader will never look at Barbie dolls the same way again.) As lyrical as a Spanish ballad, peppered with Southwestern metaphors and allusions, and written in a style evocative of Barbara Kingsolver at her best, this is a book that libraries of all sizes will want to add to their women's fiction and romance collections.Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.