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Hickman's slow-paced but best novel since Katrina's Wings begins with protagonist Gaylen Boatwright, whose life is a mess. In her late 20s, she's called home to Boiling Waters, N.C., because of her father's death. When her unbalanced sister, Delia, shoots a woman, Gaylen decides to flee the law with her. Along the way, Gaylen and Delia deliver some unusual painted dresses their deceased aunt bequeathed to family friends and relatives, each dress symbolic of an incident in the past. These visits provide clues to the puzzle of Gaylen's life. With divorce papers in her pocket, she wonders about love, God, her sanity and the role of an incarcerated older brother in her nightmares. When the law catches up with Delia, Gaylen must determine whether her past will define her and what her future will hold. Hickman gamely unpacks the lies families tell each other, the cost of family secrets to ourselves and others, the bonds between sisters and the walls between husbands and wives. Her sparkling talent is evident in this engrossing story. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.