Intervening in a family estrangement is not something college professor Dr. Vanessa Tower expected to get involved in. But as a favor to an elderly friend, she agrees to help sort things out. Eugenie Dunmoor hasn't spoken to her grandson, Christopher "Crash" Dunmoor, since an argument with her husband—the late artist Thomas Dunmoor—drove Crash from the family.

Currently, Crash owns a skydiving company. When Vanessa arrives at his cabin, he is on the roof doing repairs. When Crash refuses to come down and listen to Vanessa's plea on Eugenie's behalf, she climbs up. Nothing gets through to him until she divulges that Eugenie has cancer.

Crash has no interest in the excessive worth of his grandfather's paintings. However, Eugenie is a crafty old woman and she devises a scheme guaranteed to force Crash and Vanessa into a confrontation. In order for Crash to inherit, he must complete Vanessa's college course on the works of Thomas Dunmoor and receive an A. If he doesn't, the collection will be donated to Seymour College. Vanessa is immediately put in an uncomfortable position, for she believes that Crash deserves to keep his heritage, but her boss wants Vanessa to make absolutely certain that the college inherits.

Humor and sadness blend well in rising star Karen Kendall's new novel. The moral dilemmas that the characters face make for interesting drama, while the humor just charms. (Nov., 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith