THE HARD WAY
At long last, a debut author has crossed our path and set it metaphorically ablaze. There's much to love in this story, including Lucy, the complicated and lovable main character. Told in alternating viewpoints -- sometimes Lucy speaks in first person, other times third, and even her older sister Nancy gets in her two cents' worth -- this device is well conceived and works brilliantly. This is the first novel to come around in a long while where the author needn't tell us how special her protagonist is -- it's obvious just by
reading these peeks into her life.
Lucy has a joke for everything. That is, when she's not painting whatever image has popped into her head or plotting her next career move or going with the flow with her latest beau. She's not misguided; she's merely finding her footing. She meets perfect Ben when she's in her 20s and goes so far as to accept a proposal of marriage ... but is that really what she wants in this time of her life? And will he really wait for her should she elect to take a different path? (Forge, Jun., 272 pp., $13.95)