Picks and Pans Review: The House on Hope Street
Beach book of the week
Nine months after her husband's death, attorney Liz Sutherland accepts a dinner-and-a-movie invitation from a handsome doctor—then worries that she's moving too fast. Too fast? Hah! That's nothing compared to the speed at which Steel hurls the reader through Liz's tale.
First there is the hastily sketched portrait of Liz's idyllic marriage to fellow attorney Jack Sutherland: a successful family law practice; perfect house (on the Hope Street of the title) in a suburb of San Francisco; five adorable kids (Peter, Megan, Annie, Rachel and Jamie). Next comes the inevitable tragedy to shatter their happiness. Then, of course, Liz's struggle to overcome her grief and build a new life for herself and her children—with or without lonely E.R. doc Bill Webster.
The hectic pace doesn't allow a reader time to develop much attachment to the characters. And the breezy writing sometimes conflicts with the tearjerker story line. But with almost 50 bestsellers under her belt, Steel knows how to wring the emotion out of even the briefest scene. And in the end, Liz's simple story of a courageous woman weathering the worst of life's storms is hard to put down. (Delacorte, $19.95)
Bottom Line: Have faith in Hope