Despite the state medical examiner's ruling that the car crash that killed her husband Victor Winslow was an accident, most people in the Rhode Island town of Paradise still believe that Sandra Winslow was responsible. Labeled as the Black Widow of Blue Moon Beach, Sandra lives a reclusive life in her crumbling old Victorian home.

The one ray of light is that Victor's insurance policy must pay up and she can use the money to fix the old Babcock family home and sell it. Building a new life far away from Paradise is now Sandra's dream.

Mike Malloy has given up on dreams. Following a bitter divorce and custody battle, all Mike wants is to stay close to his beloved children Mary Margaret and Kevin. Before the divorce Mike owned an architectural restoration company. Now he's starting from scratch again. The opportunity to work on the Babcock house is a godsend, and Mike won't allow the local opinion to sway him.

When Mike meets the "black widow," he finds her nothing like the woman portrayed in the media. But a wrongful death suit filed by Victor's parents threatens to reopen the case and may force Sandra to reveal the whole truth about the night Victor died.

Award-winning author Susan Wiggs has a genuine gift for storytelling that allows her to develop deeply moving and insightful novels. PASSING THROUGH PARADISE is a thoroughly engaging story that examines the thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams of two people battered by life's blows. (Feb., 432 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith