Delacorte, Jan 2004, 25.95, 311 pp.
In 1907, teenager Adam Arnring leaves New Jersey and his family to head west. After three days by train, Adam listens to the conductor talk about Chatahoochie, Texas probably rolling in money. He leaves the train at the small stop and wanders around until he enters Rothirsch's, a shabby store, where he might buy a book or two. There he observes a fight between two older people and a beautiful female his age trying to play peacemaker. When Reilly quits, Adam surprises himself by asking for the job from the widow Mrs. Rothirsch. He is somewhat introduced to the young woman Emma, but it is made clear by his boss that her niece is way beyond his reach.
Adam proves to be a boom for the small retail business that soon turns into a successful department store and ultimately he marries Emma. However, World War One hits home with the death of one of his stepbrothers and a tryst uncovered by his odious other stepbrother leads to blackmail as Adam tries to hide his betrayal of Emma. Life goes on with children and grandchildren.
THE SIGHT OF THE STARS is a solid historical fiction tale focusing on the life of Adam. The story line uses historical events as an indirect backdrop so that the reader has a sense of time. However, Adam is Mr. Perfect except for his one indiscretion and Emma is even more perfect than he is. Their offspring's are also perfect. Thus readers receive a solid tale, but life seems too easy for the Arnring brood. Still Belva Plain fans will enjoy this twentieth century saga though perfection eliminates any major tension.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner