317 BEULAH STREET
Four single women offer each other support in this novel that deals convincingly with female friendship. Less convincing is the hero who comes to town wearing an unattractive chip on his shoulder.
Jenna and Nick are childhood friends that time and distance have parted. While Nick traveled the world as a photographer, Jenna stayed in Georgia and married Nick's brother, Craig. Two years after Craig's death, Nick returns home. As he works his way out of his brother's shadow, Nick alienates Jennaand the reader. He brags about his fame to the town snobs. Worse, every time his young nephews mention their dad, whom they miss terribly, self-involved Nick gets upset and distant.
The strengths of this wonderfully written novel are not in Nick and Jenna's love story, not even in the suspense subplot, but in the skillfully layered stories of the four friends. (Jul., 352 pp., $6.50)