With her gift for lyrical prose, Alice Hoffman takes the reader to Unity, MA, where descendants of Rebecca Sparrow have lived for centuries. Each Sparrow woman has had a unique gift.

Over a decade ago, Jenny Sparrow left home after a fight with her mother, Elinor. She eloped to Boston and had a baby, Stella, with husband Will. Thirteen years later, their marriage has disintegrated and Will is accused of a terrible murder that Stella foretold. Now on their return to Unity, each family member must make amends with the past and forge a new future.

Legend and reality are pitted against one another as Stella learns secrets about her family and the extraordinary Sparrow women. Written with tremendous depth, Hoffman's multithematic novel is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a study in the supernatural and in the evolution of relationships with life, death and the passage of time. (Jul., 320 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick