Moran's debut novel is simply wonderful. She is firmly at home writing suspense-filled scenes, whether they take place among Maori captives or in a California courthouse. She also writes convincingly about the intricacies of marriage and parenthood, and more convincingly about the close friend-ships between women. The bond between women forms the core of this novel -- a page-turner that readers
will mourn finishing.

Henry and Margaret Oades have just settled with their children in Wellington, New Zealand, where Henry has accepted a temporary accounting job. Without warning, Margaret and the children are abducted and their house burned to the ground as part of a Maori uprising. Months of searching turn up nothing, and a grief-stricken Henry, presuming his family to be dead, sails for California and a fresh start.

Years pass and he remarries, only to have Margaret and their surviving children, having escaped from captivity, turn up. (BALLANTINE, Mar., 347 pp., $15.00)

Reviewed by: 
Michelle Wiener