Dunne, Jun 2003, 24.95, 336 pp.
Recently divorced Claire Breslinsky moves herself and her two teenagers, Anthony and Tree, into a mansion in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. Her new home needs mucho renovation, but also enables the single mom to live near her bossy mother, her retired pop, and her sisters (Zinnie the cop, and Carmela the beauty writer).
Claire and her extended family work on converting the mansion into a bed and breakfast. Soon flowers arrive with no explanation and her Indian neighbor shows her how to access one of the apparent many hidden passageways. When a fire that is later ruled arson happens, fireman Enoch O'Rourke comes to the rescue. A second fire occurs and soon Claire and Enoch begin dating. As love flourishes in Queens, customers begin staying at the B&B. However, a wary Claire refuses to fall into that love trap again leaving Enoch to need another rescue to nudge his beloved towards the altar.
The mystery of the arson is barely on the blip screen as this contemporary romantic relationship drama spends more time kibitzing during meals. The novel focuses on a series of relationships between several people not just that of the prime player Claire though most go through her. Fans of family drama will enjoy this fine look into life in Queens, but between tantrums, squabbling, and divorce war syndrome, this is more of a hard working princess of the borough.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner