Lemon Manelli, who was orphaned young and raised by her grandmother, has finally—she thinks—figured it all out: She's got a dreamy boyfriend and owns a hot, trendy restaurant. Her free fall begins when she learns she's pregnant, and just as she's grown to love the idea, she miscarries. The crash is a hard one.

Swain has a talent for getting into the gritty reality of a situation, whether she's describing the manic kitchen at Lemon's restaurant or the quirks of her bitter, crazy aunt. Every character is fully developed, from Lemon's stoic grandmother to her delicate, wise pastry chef. Among the chapters are poetic vignettes describing the development of Lemon's baby.

Readers looking for a breezy chick lit novel won't find it here. The scene describing the miscarriage is understandably graphic, and Lemon's shattered reaction is painfully realistic. Swain ties up her loose ends with a few overly neat coincidences but otherwise provides much food for thought as she tackles a heartbreaking turn of events with a winning style. (Oct., 320 pp., $1300)
Reviewed by: 
Donna Carter