Review by Booklist Review
Diamant scored a surprise runaway best-seller with her first novel, The Red Tent (1997), a resonant fictional treatment of the biblical story of Dinah and her four mothers. Although Diamant's second book also focuses on women's relationships, it is set in the present in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and tracks the developing friendship of 59-year-old Kathleen, a librarian, and 40-year-old Joyce, a romance novelist. Kathleen has just discovered that she has breast cancer and must undergo radiation treatments; her illness puts a strain on her family relationships and forces her to reexamine her faith. Joyce is somewhat embarrassed about her unexpected success after penning a romance novel; she is also worried about her increasing distance from her husband and adolescent daughter. As the two women walk the beach and share their travails, they form a deep bond. Diamant appears to be struggling with her material here, for after a while, the two women's heart-to-hearts begin to sound a lot like whining, and instead of feeling compassionate, readers are more likely to feel irritated. It seems the author may be experiencing the legendary sophomore slump, but that won't stop fans of The Red Tent from asking for this one. Expect demand--and quite a few disappointed readers. --Joanne Wilkinson
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Linda Emond's performance helps to enliven the second offering by the author of the best-selling biblical epic The Red Tent. This novel, far narrower in scope than Diamant's first, focuses on two women: Kathleen Levine, a 59-year-old children's librarian undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, and Joyce Tabachnik, a 42-year-old journalist and romance novelist struggling to cope with a workaholic spouse and their increasingly impertinent 12-year-old daughter. Kathleen is a longtime resident of Cape Ann, MA, while Joyce and her husband have just purchased a summer home there. The two women meet one night after synagogue and immediately hit it off. While taking long walks along Good Harbor beach, the two gradually share their personal histories, developing a deep friendship that helps them cope with their domestic problems. Diamant's smooth prose, well-drawn characters, and vivid descriptions of Cape Ann help to compensate for the novel's slow-moving, minimal plot. A solid choice for large fiction collections.DBeth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Contemporary yet familiar tale about a consoling summer friendship as two women-one undergoing radiation therapy, the other unhappy in her marriage and career-share their fears and pasts as they walk a Massachusetts beach. Set in Cape Ann, the story begins in the spring when Kathleen Levine, 59, diagnosed with breast cancer, emerges from surgery only to face radiation treatment over the summer. A librarian at the elementary school and the mother of two sons, Kathleen is having a hard time with her diagnosis. A Catholic who converted to Judaism when she married local businessman Buddy, she can't help but remember how her sister Pat, a nun, died painfully and young from the same disease, even though doctors assure Kathleen that her cancer is different. In addition, Kathleen is tormented by memories of her son Danny, who was a toddler when he was killed by an out-of-control car. Fortysomething Boston writer Joyce Tabachnik is also feeling down. She's written a pseudonymous bodice-ripper successful enough to finance a vacation house in Cape Ann, but she really wants to write serious fiction; her husband Frank is a workaholic; and her daughter Nina, on the cusp of adolescence, is no longer sweet and tractable. The two women, meeting for the first time after a synagogue service, start taking walks together along the beach. As the summer progresses, Joyce, who's fixing up her house, suffers writer's block and has a brief affair with a mysterious Irishman; Kathleen, more and more depressed, experiences panic attacks, especially when she's behind the wheel of her car. But their friendship sustains them, as Kathleen overcomes her fears of driving to warn Joyce on her way to a rendezvous that the police are after her lover, and owns up to Joyce the responsibility she feels for Danny's death. Though questions of religious faith are touched on, the bestselling Diamant (The Red Tent, 1997) never wanders far from a nicely written but conventional celebration of female friendship.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.