Her grandmother's failing health is the catalyst that forces Karla Esterbrook back to face family ghosts from the past. Karla and her two younger sisters, Heather and Grace, were orphaned as children. After being bounced around from relative to relative, they were finally sent to live with their widowed maternal grandmother Anna Olsen.

As a teenager aching with loss, Karla was more combative than her sisters, and butted heads with adults, her grandmother included. Karla was never able to build a close relationship with Anna. Now that Anna is dying, Karla has resolved to return to Rocklin for a month to help put things in order. While Karla is determined to concentrate on practical matters, Anna knows that this may be their last opportunity for reconciliation. After the loss of her parents, and a failed marriage, Karla has difficulty finding or expressing love and is a bit relationship shy. Local vet Mark Taylor and his impish daughter Cindy would like to make her reconsider her position.

As Karla and Anna try to bridge the gap, they discover something they can share: their memories of Karla's beloved mother.

THINGS REMEMBERED is an outstanding achievement that captures all the joys and sorrows found in life. Ms. Bockoven rises to new and impressive heights with this novel. (Oct., 320 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith