Mira, Apr2003, 6.50, 448 pp.
In Houston, Jesse and her mother Gina D'Angelo live with Newberry Award winner Elizabeth Walker. Though opposites, Gina and Elizabeth have been friends since they met as foster children two decades ago. The D'Angelos moved in with Elizabeth following the kid's father Austin Leggett throwing both of them out of his home. Gina has since asked for child support, but Austin refuses to pay and counter files for custody. Though he hates this case, attorney Ryan Paxton represents Austin because his client's father, a senior partner in their firm, asked him.
Ryan implies that Gina and Elizabeth might be gay and rips both in other ways when they testify. Still, the judge rules joint custody. Austin persuades Angela to accompany him to discuss the finding, but she refuses to give away what their daughter needs. He bruises her. They meet again, but Gina ends up comatose after a car accident. Ryan believes that Austin caused the accident and helps Elizabeth because the shocked Jesse is the most important person in this fiasco. Soon Ryan and Elizabeth fall in love, but both know Jesse comes first.
Austin shows no redeeming quality and his behavior after Gina is comatose seems out of character. However, PRIVATE LIVES hooks the audience because of the rest of the extended cast. The story line is fast paced, but contains delightful sidebars that make the lead couple seems so real as both want what's best for Jesse. Fans of romantic suspense will encourage Karen Young to reveal the PRIVATE LIVES of Elizabeth's two sisters who make strong appearances in this terrific work of romantic suspense.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner