BREATHING ROOM

Dr. Isabel Favor built an empire based on her belief in the "Four Cornerstone" principals. However, the underpinnings of her empire come crashing down when her accountant runs off with her money and her fiancé dumps her. With the scandal dogging her every step, Isabel decides to escape to the Italian countryside for a few weeks to regroup.

Lorenzo Gage is Hollywood's favorite villain, having made a successful career playing nearly every type of handsome, murderous thug imaginable. When a former actress/girlfriend commits suicide, the press quickly blames Ren. Needing a break before his next picture, he heads to his property in Tuscany. One night in Florence, his and Isabel's paths collide, leading to an attempted anonymous tryst.

Aghast at her moral lapse, Isabel flees to her rental in Tuscany and is horrified to discover her new landlord is not only the man involved in her fall from grace, but also the film world's most handsome bad guy. How can a "bad boy" and a woman who firmly believes in goodness and prayer hope for any kind of lasting bond?

In a word, fabulous! This is, without a doubt, Susan Elizabeth Phillips's best book to date. The characters are vividly alive and envelope you into their world. Known for her warmth and humor, Ms. Phillips has become one of the most cherished authors of our time. (Jun., 384 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith