The premise of this first novel is initially provocative: Victor, a rich young man, intelligent and talented, chooses to end his treatment for leukemia and spend his remaining months with Hilary, the young woman hired to take care of him. Having fallen in love, the pair moves from Boston to the seaside community of Hull, ``a discreet place to die,'' where Hilary becomes powerfully attracted to Gordon, a divorced entrepreneur. Torn by longing for a ``normal'' relationship with Gordon and guilt over betraying Victor, Hilary gradually confronts her chronic insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. Although this slim story begins with grace and assurance, the narrative soon becomes tiresome as the three chief characters take on the whiny, self-absorbed behavior of adolescents. We never understand why the rabbity heroine is so appealing to two men; Gordon callously threatens to tell his dying rival (and new friend) about his own affair with Hilary. Even Victor, supposedly determined to bow out of life with courage, is surly and arrogant; he says he has chosen to commit suicide because fighting his disease is ``boring.'' While Leimbach shows promise, her first effort is a disappointment. First serial to Cosmopolitan; film rights to Fogwood/20th Century Fox . (Jan.)
Eager to escape her aimless existence and the tyranny of her mother's home, Hilary begins by answering an ad for a caretaker and ends by becoming the lover of the man who hired her. But this is no ordinary relationship, for brilliant young Victor--scion of a patrician Boston family that might have snubbed Hilary had they ever met her--has decided after years of fighting leukemia to die on his own terms. As the novel opens, Hilary is contemplating an affair with Gordon, attracted by his very normalcy. How she manages this affair while remaining fiercely loving and loyal to Victor is the gist of this touching, well-wrought story. The 25-year-old Leimbach offers some remarkably astute perceptions on death's power to confound our expectations and love's power to confound death as she moves toward an ending that is both satisfying and unexpected. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/89.--Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''