Simon and Schuster, Jan 2003, 24.00, 354 pp.
A year has passed since Phoebe, Ness, Nance, and Beryl moved in together on Phoebe's California flower farm to help each other overcome or at least deal with health problems and bad relationships (see BAD GIRL CREEK). Phoebe is pregnant, but the father died in a car crash on their wedding day. Ness has been diagnosed as HIV positive. Nance is heading to the altar, as she will marry Phoebe's brother though she believes she still loves music reporter Rick. Beryl still recovers from accidentally killing her spouse, spending time in jail, and what seems to her is unrequited love for Earl.
Maddy leaves Nebraska, ditching her singing partner boyfriend who is drunk one time to many, to visit Oklahoma City, where her twin sister died in the Bombing. She meets Rick and they make love before traveling together to Santa Fe. At a performance in Santa Fe Maddy meets Beryl and Earl. Together everyone goes to Bad Girl Creek for the wedding.
In spite of the major flaws of the key nine characters that make up this baseball team, the cast is a sweet bunch struggling to overcome their problems through this loose association. The story line is fun and easy to read, but keep score because the changing points of view and the hard to distinguish much of the protagonists make for a difficult time remember who has what. Somewhat soap opera in nature, the middle tale of Jo-Ann Mapson's trilogy will delight her fans and those who desire a cautionary tale brimming with muted optimism.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner