HarperCollins, Jul 2001, 25.00, 393 pp.
In Long Island Realtor Hope Collins-Calder has enough on her plate selling houses that she has no time to care for her children, the oldest being only eight. She knows she can obtain no help from her first husband, the father of her older two kids because he lives in California and even less assistance from her present spouse Eddie who resides more in Manhattan especially during the week. She hires nannies, but they seem to come and go rather quickly.
Eddie obtains the services of a forty-seven year English spinster with limited experience at best. English expatriate Annabel Quick accepts the job to flee her nightmares of a failed love affair and the death of her mother due to a fire. As Eddie and Hope have extra marital affairs, Annabel begins taking reasonable care of her charges and suitors soon appear. Will Eddie run off with his assistant? Will Hope return to her first husband? Will Annabel find happiness in America? Only one thing seems certain, the English nanny and her three wards make a happy family together.
DOWN BY THE WATER is a well written relationship drama that works because Caroline Upcher never allows the story line to turn into a soap opera or a cartoon style plot. Instead, the author cleverly provides a full perspective on the goings-on in the Calder-Collins household to include that of the critical secondary players. This, in turn, allows the audience to fully understand the desires and worries that motivate the key cast members. Ms. Upcher adroitly furnishes an intelligently graceful tale that will make her a fan favorite.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner