In the latest from the author of Three Wishes, a nasty reporter has falsely accused Lily Blake of an affair with a cardinal, forcing her to retreat to her home town in New Hampshire. There she links up with John Kipling, another renegade from big-time media who's now running the local paper.
The deserved popularity of Delinsky's novels resides in her ability to create appealing, believable characters who don't need to drop names and fashion labels to earn the reader's attention. Cabaret singer, pianist and music appreciation teacher Lily Blake, 34, finds pleasure in singing, since it's the only time she's free of the stutter that's plagued her all her life. She also finds comfort in her friendship with Archbishop, now Cardinal, Francis Rossetti. Whether they're performing together at archdiocese events or the exclusive Essex Club in Boston, Lily knows she can depend on the priest for understanding and comfort. But when a malicious reporter fabricates a story that Lily and the Cardinal have an illicit sexual relationship, Lily sees her name dragged through the mud. Suspended by the school where she teaches and told by the Essex Club not to return to work, a besieged Lily retreats to her small New Hampshire hometown of Lake Henry. There she holes up in the cabin her grandmother left to her, and confronts her estranged relationship with her widowed mother, Maida. Lily finds an unexpected ally in 40ish John Kipling, once a ruthless big-city journalist himself but now editor of small-time Lake Henry's newspaper. He is equally outraged at the lies that invade Lily's privacy, and together they fight for justice. Delinsky (Coast Road) plots this satisfying, gentle romance with the sure hand of an expert, scattering shady pasts and dark secrets among some of her characters, while giving others destructive family patterns and difficult family dynamics to contend with. Nature, and how it colors small town living, is described in clean, unembellished prose that only occasionally lapses into an awkward attempt at rural New Hampshire dialect. Agent, Amy Berkower. Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild Super Release; Reader's Digest Condensed Books; Simon & Schuster Audio. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.