Zebra, Jul 2002, 6.50, 352 pp.
Anyone who lives in Grand Haven off of Lake Michigan knows that Maggie and Spencer MacKenzie clearly love each other with a relationship so strong few if any can rival it. Though their bonds are robust, the two adults nurture and love their two preadolescent children. While Spence works on a project, Maggie drives to the elementary school to deliver a bicycle helmet for her daughter to use in show and tell. An SUV runs a red light crashing into her vehicle leaving her in a coma.
The children are devastated with the loss of their mother, but perhaps not as much as Spence and Maggie's sister Jackie, already suffering emotional devastation from a recent divorce. After several weeks of raw feelings, Jackie and Spence fall in each other's arms and make love, but both regrets their actions the morning after. When Maggie regains consciousness, she has to learn how to live all over again and even try to love Spence, who is loaded with guilt. Will the once idyllic couple regain what they lost in a nanosecond of fate's intervention or is it over?
DAY BY DAY is an apt title for a strong relationship drama as Maggie recovers one step at a time. Audiences will feel the angst of those characters that cherish Maggie. The sidebar of the one night mistake and its aftermath add unnecessary emotion to an already terse drama filled with passion and feelings. Though that detour turns the novel into more of a soap opera, Sandra Steffen invokes sympathy from her readers who want the best for these basically good people.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner