PASSING INTO LIGHT
Bravely, Shirley Mills resolves to move past her crippling grief and start a new life. An elderly relative, Mother Johnson, and her reluctant suitor, Tony Taylor, aid in that quest. Seeking a fresh start after her husband's death, Shirley leaves Alabama and heads west with her two children. Circumstances waylay her, and she is detoured to her childhood home in Tyler, Texas.
This novel has riveting aspects. Foster's voice is uniquecasual yet intenseand her dialect is lovely. She writes a blockbuster beginning and a hilarious romantic finale. However, dramatic tension drains away when nearly every conversation becomes an opportunity for a lengthy, though eloquently written, sermon. At times, the story becomes submerged beneath the theology, rather than buoyed by it. Readers with tastes along the literary end of the spectrum are likely to enjoy this character-driven novel. (Mar., 350 pp., $12.99)