Once in a Blue Moon, Eileen Goudge's latest installment of delicious, complicated relationships, has two very different sisters reconnecting after more than two decades apart.
Lindsay, now a bookshop owner, struck proverbial gold when she was sent to live with a foster family after her mother, Crystal, was sent to prison on drug charges. The older, childless couple adopted her as a 13-year-old and loved her dearly.
Kerrie Ann, who was 3 years old when Crystal was arrested, was not as fortunate. After bouncing among various families, she ran away from home at 16.
Now 29, Kerrie Ann is following in her mother's footsteps. While addicted to drugs, she lost custody of her 6-year-old daughter. Desperate to get her back, she must show the court that she can hold a job and find a safe place to live. Since she doesn't have either of those things, her lawyer urges her to contact Lindsay, a sister Kerrie Ann never knew existed.
Uptight, perfectionist Lindsay dislikes messy relationships to the point that she refuses to reconnect with an old friend simply because she's going through a messy divorce. Bitter, defensive Kerrie Ann, with her loud mouth, tattoos and pink hair, is about as messy at it gets. Lindsay wishes she could push her away, but finds herself unable to turn her back on the only family she has.
With a ruthless developer trying to run Lindsay off the home she inherited from her adoptive parents, plus a sexy novelist, a cute pastry chef and the constant legal battle to get Kerrie Ann's daughter back, the sisters have plenty on their plates.
Though somewhat predictable, the story manages some true depth between the two sisters, who begin as virtual strangers. By turns whiney, self-centered, fearful and defensive, with the occasional shining breakthrough of selfless love, the two sisters have much to learn from one another. And a long way to go before they can truly become the family they both crave.
Tammar Stein is the author of "Light Years" and "High Dive." Her third novel for young adults, "Kindred," is due out next year.