Harper. Sept. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9780062491794. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062491817. F
Bert Cousins, a deputy DA in Southern California, takes a break from the claustrophobia of his home (three kids, including a baby, and a pregnant wife) and crashes the christening party for Franny, the baby of Fix Keating, a cop he barely knows. By the end of the day, drunken Bert has kissed Keating's beautiful wife, Beverly, thus setting in motion five decades of the two families reconstituting a time or two. The six children form uneasy bonds with one another and their various imperfect parental figures. Franny unwittingly blows open the heart of these messy alliances when a chance meeting with Leo, a famous, much older author, leads to a long love affair and a betrayal when Leo writes a blockbuster version of Franny's life story, made more raw by the death of one of her stepbrothers.
VERDICT Award-winning author Patchett brings humanity, humor, and a disarming affection to lovable, struggling characters who soldier on with decency despite the handicaps of their disrupted childhoods. Irresistible. [See Prepub Alert, 3/7/16.]
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