Aspiring actor Mark Gillen is married to aspiring actress Paula Montgomery, and they have a little girl, Madeleine. Fairy-tale romance? Hardly. Paula gets her "big break" in a movie shot in Europe and Mark stays with 5-year-old Madeleine. When Paula returns, she brings a wealthy, movie-producer boyfriend, divorce papers and a court order for her daughter. A cruel nightmare begins as Mark navigates a court system predisposed toward the mother and unresponsive to people without money or power.

While Mark's career is sabotaged and his fitness as a father questioned, he finds allies, as well as enemies, in unexpected places. He grabs inspiration from scripture ("ask and ye shall receive"), but God must not be listening. The first-person voice delivers heart-rending immediacy to this three-hankie read by a veteran author. The conclusion shocks as well as satisfies. (Mar., 400 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson