Movie star Stella Powers has returned to Homewood, N.J., for a visit with her mom. Her mother's sudden death and her rock-star husband's public infidelity are just two of the events that conspire to make her stay. As Stella marvels at the improvements in town and becomes reacquainted with her old friend Mary Jean, she decides that Homewood might just be the place to raise her 6-year-old daughter.

Soon Stella lands in the middle of a war between her new "suburbanista" friends, who want to homogenize the town with expensive subdivisions, and Mary Jean, who wants to preserve its character for future generations. Stella has the clout, but does she have the desire to help the friend from whom she's been estranged for so long?

The idea of a movie star falling from grace back into her sleepy hometown has a lot of potential. But neither Stella nor Mary Jean proves compelling enough to drive the story out of its predictable arc. Satran fails to develop either of her leading ladies beyond their cliched, faded movie star/ frumpy housewife descriptions. This book is too predictable to hold the reader's attention. (Mar., 335 pp., $13.00)
Reviewed by: 
Stephanie Schneider