Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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***Table for Five

by Susan Wiggs

Reviewed May 12, 2005.
Mira Books, Ontario, Canada, 2005.  391 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F WIG).

Sometimes, a nicely written romance novel is exactly what the heart needs.

Table for Five opens with a broken marriage.  Lily Robinson is a third-grade teacher enduring a conference with the parents of Charlene Holloway.  Charlie’s mother is Lily’s best friend, so it’s not easy to tell her that Charlie is failing reading.  It doesn’t help that Charlie’s father is at the conference, too, and they’re not exactly friendly after their bitter divorce.

Lily is looking forward to summer vacation.  She loves teaching, but she’s glad that she can send the kids back to their parents at the end of the year.  If you don’t love deeply, you won’t get deeply hurt.

Then Lily gets a call from Charlie’s Uncle Sean.  He got Lily’s number from her friend’s answering machine.  Lily’s the last one to have seen either of the parents.  The three kids, including an angry teenager, wonder why nobody picked them up.  Sean’s a single guy with no commitments either.  He’s wondering if Lily knows where her friend went after the teacher conference.

When the bodies are found in a car accident on the coast, Lily’s heartbroken and tries to be there for the kids.  But her friend never put in writing her request that Lily take her kids if anything happened to her.  So naturally, Sean is given custody.

All of their lives are thrown into turmoil.  Lily finds she can’t just take off on her planned trip to Italy and leave those motherless kids behind.  She gives some help.  Her lessons on proper nutrition for kids and the correct way to load a dishwasher aren’t necessarily appreciated, but she and Sean have a mutual love for those orphaned children that helps them begin to appreciate each other, even though outwardly they seem so different.

This is a warm story about people caught up in difficult times learning to find happiness after sorrow.  A nice indulgence.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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