Morsi's blend of reality and fantasy is blessed with a remarkable group of diverse, interesting characters and a touching, offbeat romance. It's a great way to spend a chilly winter afternoon or evening.

Since her teens, Emma Collins has sacrificed everything for her sister, Katy. Even though Katy's now 25, divorced from ne'er-do-well Sean and the mother of 6-year-old Josh, Emma can't break the habit. When Katy buys a bed-and-breakfast in the Ozarks, Emma goes along to help.

Once in tiny Warbler Lake, they discover that Katy's acquired Bitsy's Bait and BBQ, not a BandB. Emma's horrified, but Katy refuses to reconsider her plans. They're doing fine until Sean turns up, poised for a custody battle. Planning to go back to college at some point -- and not get married, as everyone expects -- Emma faces a tough choice: leave, or stand and fight with Katy. (MIRA, Feb., 344 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer