From Publishers Weekly
Rice's Crazy in Love and other novels were about women with privileged lives who had problems resolving family relationships or facilitating marital communication, who needed more independence or artistic fulfillment. Here she sacrifices subtlety and wit for a more conventional romantic tale whose protagonist is a young mother cast in emotional limbo after the death of her four-year-old daughter and the loss of her husband to another woman. The narrative opens with a blaze in the childhood home of heroine Anne Davis. Anne, who has returned to this New England sanctuary to try to deal with her grief, escapes from the flames?but then runs back in to retrieve her child's possessions. She's rescued by firefighter Thomas Devlin, a man horribly scarred in a fire that claimed his wife's life more than a decade earlier. As might be expected, Anne rekindles a long-dormant spark in Thomas's heart ("Something about the woman... made him know he'd found a kindred soul. Just looking into her eyes was like living a lifetime"); in turn, she disregards his scarred features, as if to prove she's not superficial. Yet their romance seems ill-starred. Anne is snubbed by her hometown's down-at-the-heel residents, including her own sister, for being being both beautiful and wealthy?especially when her husband desperately wants her back. Indeed, it is hard to warm up to Anne, who's as precious as the tiny collages that she constructs from postage stamps. She gains sympathy because of her lost daughter, but she doesn't redeem herself to the reader until the conclusion, when she performs an act of selflessness. This formulaic romantic novel about a second chance at love lacks the spirited voice Rice's fans have grown to expect.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
After witnessing the death of her four-year-old daughter, Karen, in a tragic accident, Anne Davis returns to the New England island where she grew up. When a fire threatens to consume the family home, Anne reenters the house in search of her dead daughter's most treasured possessions. Overcome by smoke, she is rescued by Thomas Devlin, a grotesquely scarred firefighter who recognizes in Anne a fellow survivor. The two kindred souls start a tenuous relationship, but Thomas' jealous son and Anne's cold ex-husband attempt to derail their romance. This 1990s version of the Beauty and the Beast story has many fine touches--the way Karen's winsome crayon drawing becomes her mother's talisman; Anne's sister's barely suppressed envy of Anne's glamorous life; troubled teen Maggie's start-and-stop efforts to straighten out her life. But Rice blows a good deal of credibility by loading down her plot with one tragic event after another. This fairy tale would have you believe that you can find love in a dangerous world, but you'd better have plenty of fire and auto insurance Joanne Wilkinson