HarperCollins, Aug 2002, 24.95, 400 pp.
In icy upstate New York, Anna Catalano ends her affair with her lover when she catches him with her boss in her bed just after she had outpatient laparascopy. When her Aunt Iris offers her the job of manager of Bella Sorella, Anna decides to accept on a temporary basis though she rarely has gone home to the Maryland Eastern Shore. Anna's Aunt Rose, whom she caught in bed with her father while her mother was dying from ovarian cancer, owns the restaurant. The aunt and the niece are banally civil, but truly communicate through Iris.
Restaurant management proves difficult, but Anna handles it with aplomb. However, she has more trouble coping with her feelings towards photographer Mason Winograd, as she does not trust relationships. More complex and harder on Anna's soul is Rose wants a reconciliation with her beloved niece and will do whatever it takes to succeed.
FLIGHT LESSONS is a wonderful relationship drama that is at its best when the women take center stage without any males in their way though the men are well written characters. The story line engages the reader by looking at the impact a long-term squabble has on individuals. The Rose-Anna situation is cleverly written so that many readers will recognize similar relationships with family members. However, the romance between Anna and Mason never leaves the ground, as it seems pale next to that of the women. Patricia Gaffney provides a strong character driven sequel to her best selling THE SAVING GRACES.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner