GARDEN OF DREAMS
Jill and Caye. Dear friends. Soul sisters. Opposite as a magnolia blossom and an oak tree. They've told each other everything. Or have they? When Jill is stricken with pancreatic cancer, their lives hurtle along a course Jill always dreaded and Caye never expected. Secrets take on significance, and even Jill doesn't know the whole story. Only when death lies ready to pounce does Jill's mother reveal the truth.
Gould draws tears of pain and sympathy with this one. Caye emerges as a strong character, though in the end I didn't see in her the transcendent joy and peace, alongside the human grief, that would have deepened the spiritual take-away. Given the circumstances, I had hoped to see more growth in the characters in general. Numerous flashbacks slow the pace, especially through the first third of the book. (Jun., 322 pp., $11.99)