Kensington, Apr 2002, 6.99, 320 pp.
In Crandall, Connecticut the Ehrlich family leads such a perfect American existence they even become featured in an issue of Southern Connecticut Life magazine. Libby owns and runs an antique business. Her spouse Peter is a highly regarded cardiac surgeon at Crandall General Hospital. They have two teenage daughters, sixteen years old Claudia and thirteen years old Ellery, who seem happy and are doing well.
However, their perfect lifestyle shatters when the parents return from a trip abroad to learn that their younger daughter is carrying the baby of the boyfriend of her older sister. All four Ehrlichs are forced to look closely at the relationships with one another and as a family because if Southern Connecticut Life magazine did a feature today they would find a shattered dysfunctional family leading the perfect American nightmare.
TWO DAUGHTERS is a look at how an event can destroy trust, commitment, and caring in what seemed like a devoted group. However, the problem with the story line is that Marlene Fanta Shyer tries to focus on too many major issues that could each stand on their own as the prime theme. Alcoholism or teenage pregnancy easily could have served as the key focus, but by using a shallow glance at each element, Ms. Shyer's novel fails to grip the audience. Libby's first hand account at times can be intriguing, but never quite pulls the audience into the deep emotional trench that the characters find almost impossible to escape.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner