Debut novelist Sussman has written a heartwarming story focusing on an unlikely love between two fortysomethings. Devastated by the abrupt departure of his wife, Emily, screenwriter Luke Bellingham has stopped writing and become something of a recluse.

But when an old friend asks him to locate members of their high school graduating class for their 25-year reunion, Luke agrees to find Blair Clemens, a girl that he remembers as a flower-child loner. When he locates her in his native San Francisco, the two become fast friends and lovers, with Luke attracted to Blair's unpretentiousness and Blair attracted to Luke's ability to care.

But their relationship is complex. Blair has recently been diagnosed with incurable melanoma. As Luke attempts to form a relationship with Blair and her 16-year-old daughter, his determination to find his wife seems to wane, until circumstances change, forcing him to choose between his blonde trophy wife and the dying woman who has taught him the true meaning of love. By delving into real-life issues of life, death and betrayal, Sussman creates a rich, top-rate novel. (Feb., 290 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick