THE LANGUAGE OF SYCAMORES

Author(s): 
Wingate's heartfelt novels are a delight to the senses, and her latest, in which computer analyst Karen Sommerfield learns what's most important in life, is no exception.

After being laid off from her high-pressure Boston job and learning that her cancer may have returned, Karen decides to travel to Missouri to visit her sister, Kate, who now lives in the home of their deceased Grandma Rose. While there, Karen is flooded with memories of Grandma Rose and her philosophy of life.

Karen's inability to have children with her husband James previously had caused tension between her and Kate. Now her sincere efforts to mend their relationship and help care for Kate's two young children create a strong bond between the sisters. Karen's priorities also undergo a gradual change when she meets Dell, a young girl whose drunken uncle and bedridden grandmother provide little family stability.

Written from Karen's first-person perspective, Wingate's smoothly flowing prose fills the pages with emotional drama, especially when Karen unearths Dell's untapped musical abilities. Wingate's skill at exposing the hidden depths of relationships is evident in Karen and James' growing closeness in a marriage that had been trumped by career commitments.

This novel is proof that the author is well on her way to making a name for herself in the genre of women's fiction. (Jan., 304 pp., $12.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick