Emotional crises abound in Samuel's second novel (after No Place Like Home), set in the deceptively peaceful hills around Taos, N.Mex. Luna McGraw, who still wears her AA pin, lost custody of her daughter, Joy, eight years ago; at 15, Joy is about to come live with her again, and Luna is nervously trying to quit smoking, get her life in order and be an upstanding parent-or at least look like one. Thomas Coyote, Luna's new love interest, is still reeling from his former wife's affair with his own brother. Joy is fascinated by her mother's free-spirited life and the budding relationship with Thomas, but she misses her stepmother and stepsiblings. She's also furious with her philandering father, who has cheated on both of his wives. Luna's mother, Kitty, though now happily married to a loving millionaire, is still haunted by memories of Luna's father, who walked out on the family decades ago. Luna's sister, Elaine, has a poor self-image and a weight problem. Even Joy's new friend, Maggie, is struggling with her own mother's severe depression and her grief over her father's accidental death. Samuel is adept at keeping the tone light in spite of this unrelieved angst, though some may still find the novel a bit overwrought. Her use of Maggie's diary entries to tie up the story's loose ends also strikes an amateurish chord. Yet the humorously self-effacing characters and sensitive exploration of family relationships ensure the book's appeal to readers of women's fiction. Agent, Meg Ruley. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Dealing with a host of difficult past issues and trying to renew a relationship with her teenaged daughter, Luna McGraw is not at all ready to have a man in her life. But when she is pursued by Thomas Coyote, a man she has admired from afar, she's not sure she can say no-or that she even wants to. Beautifully drawn but deeply wounded characters populate the pages of this exceptional romance. Seamlessly combining the dark issues of abandonment, betrayal, infidelity, and alcoholism with a compelling love story, Samuel has written an intense, multifaceted tale of relationships, family, and healing love that spans genre boundaries and will appeal to readers of women's fiction and romance alike. Noted for her skillful writing, excellent characterizations, and emotionally involving novels, Samuel (No Place Like Home), who also writes as Ruth Wind, lives in Pueblo, CO. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Mixed-up mom reconnects with mixed-up daughter in another confused family saga from second-novelist Samuel (No Place Like Home, 2001) Luna McGraw lost custody of her daughter-and started having tequila for breakfast. But now she drinks-no, obsesses over-coffee in various frothy and steamed combinations. There are other invigorating influences in her life besides all that caffeine: the brilliant sun of Taos, for example, and its engagingly eccentric residents. Luna is an artist in a small way, painting whimsical designs onto old furniture just for fun, and she works at the grocery store to pay her rent. She gets by. Life is good. She even listens to the voices in her head that tell her what to do, dubbed Therapist Barbie and Best Friend Barbie. As Barbies go, they know just what to say when Luna is feeling a little down. Oh, one more thing: she's dying for a Marlboro but she has to set a good example for teenager Joy, right? And just why is her pain-in-the-butt ex suddenly eager to send the girl to her mother? Joy doesn't seem all that bad. Outward signs of rebellion are few: small tattoo on her back, minor body pierce here and there. She seems to make friends easily and so does Luna-Thomas Coyote, that hunky Indian woodcarver, looks like a real man, not too arty or pretentious. And nice. What more could a clean-and-sober middle-aged woman ask for? Luna is realistic and figures she can deal with the ex-wife he still talks to. Then a letter arrives and all cluster 'round: seems Luna's good-for-nothing father died and left them some land. What to do? Drink some coffee and dither some more. Joy's friend Maggie is cutting herself. What to do? Ask an inner Barbie. And so goes this desultoryplot, interspersed with almanac quotes, the twelve steps of AA, and deep Dear Diary entries. The point? Apparently none.
A deep and wise love story . . . Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters—there’s something wonderful here for every reader.”
Author of Bad Girl Creek and Along Came Mary
“BARBARA SAMUELS IS IRRESISTIBLE. She writes compelling, poignant stories that will touch the heart of any woman.”
—SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS
“Samuel has created truly three-dimensional characters, filled with flaws, strengths, and idiosyncrasies. As lyrical as a Spanish ballad, peppered with Southwestern metaphors and allusions, and written in a style evocative of Barbara Kingsolver at her best.”
“BARBARA SAMUELS IS ‘A POET OF THE NEW WEST.’ ”
—MARY JO PUTNEY