Biographer Ellie Connor's new project combines a fascinating mystery with her own more personal quest. More than 40 years ago, blues singer Mabel Beauvais apparently disappeared from the face of the earth just when she was on the verge of super stardom. After seeing a picture of Mabel, Ellie immediately knows that Mabel's life story will make a fascinating book, and if Ellie can solve the mystery of her disappearance, it could be a best seller.

Ellie decides to start her search for information in Mabel's hometown, the small East Texas town of Pine Bend. Ellie has struck up an e-mail friendship with Dr. Laurence Blue Reynard, who is a blues afficionado and also happens to live in Pine Bend. Blue invites Ellie to use his guesthouse as a base while she interviews Mabels family and friends.

Blue has more charm and looks than are good for him, but since his wifes death, he is incapable of committing to another relationship. Ellies arrival stirs up emotions that could be hazardous to both of them. While Ellie is committed to her biography on Mabels life, fate has handed her the opportunity to perhaps solve a mystery in her own lifethe identity of her father.

In 1968, Ellies hippie mother Diane was on a bus which broke down in Pine Bend. Diane stayed in the town for several months and when she returned home, she was pregnant. After giving birth to Ellie, a troubled Diane gave the baby to her mother and left for good. Diane died two years later. Will Ellie have the courage to uncover the truth? Fate has a strange way of revealing long-buried secrets just when they can either do the most harm or the most good.

With a writing style that is both lyrical and evocative, Ruth Wind makes her much-anticipated mainstream debut. Ms. Wind, (aka Barbara Samuel) seems born to produce novels that enrich us with their complex emotions and dramatic characterizations. A must-read book! (May, 416 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith