It has been 23 years since Jewel Sabatino has spoken with her estranged father. This breach is a source of deep pain, but now circumstances have conspired to force Jewel to return to her hometown of Pueblo, CO. Her best friend, Michael Shawnnessey, has always been there for both Jewel and her 17-year-old son, Shane, especially during the dark days of watching Shane's father, Billy, self-destruct. Now it is Michael who is dying and his long-standing illness has sapped his finances.

A legacy from her Aunt Sylvia gives Jewel the option of moving all three of them back to Pueblo. Returning will force Jewel to face up to the past. World traveler Malachi Shawnnessey arrives in Pueblo to the news that his beloved brother is dying. While Malachi and Michael are at peace with each other, the same can not be said of their relationship with their father.

The magic of Barbara Samuel's storytelling-its enormous depth, passion and compassion-is a gift she shares with readers. This book vividly explores the emotional ties that bind families together and the scars that can drive them apart. (Feb., 320 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith