Picks and Pans Review: Three Wishes

updated 11/03/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/1997 01:00AM

Barbara Delinsky

Walking home from work on a snowy Vermont night, 33-year-old waitress Bree Miller is struck and nearly killed by a skidding Jeep. When she awakens in her hospital bed, her head is swirling with memories of a bright light, an all-encompassing warmth and a mystical voice that returned her to the living with the promise of three wishes before she dies again. Was it a near-death experience or simply an anesthesia-induced dream? Helping her find out is Tom Gates, the Jeep's driver, who, predictably, finds in Bree the answer to many of his own meaning-of-life questions. In less steady hands, so conveniently sentimental a premise could have easily slipped into bathos. But veteran romance writer Delinsky (A Woman's Place, For My Daughters) steers clear of treacle. With simple prose and a deliberate avoidance of happily-ever-after clich├ęs, she has crafted a heart-tugging story of love and redemption that is surprisingly powerful. (Simon & Schuster, $23)

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