Something to Talk About
by Laurie Paige
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1396, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24396-0
***
Jess Fargo is about on his last legs - and, to make matters worse, one of those legs was crippled in the line of duty. Now heís an ex-cop with a newly returned son, courtesy of his former wife who is getting married again. She didnít want Jess to see his boy before but now she canít wait to get rid of the kid. Everything in Jessí life has changed and heís not happy about it. He has gone on a trip with his son, Jeremy, to get to know him better, but Jess is now exhausted. Heís heard about a small garage apartment he could rent from a widow in Wind River, Wyoming, and heís ready to stop for a while.

The widow is a bit more than Jess expected. Kate is compassionate and beautiful and interested in both him and his son. Sheís had a tough past herself and has faced the fact that she is now going to have to live her life without a husband or child.

Rather abruptly, we find out Jess had an ulterior motive for his stay. Kate is related by marriage to his dead sister and he wants to find out whether his sisterís death was an accident or something else. Kate takes on more than Jess and Jeremy this summer as well. She agrees to house a small girl who is in foster care. No one else will take the child since her father has escaped jail and threatened to kill the child and himself. Watching the abandoned children in the story growing up and learning to trust others makes a lovely story all on its own.

Something to Talk About is a really solid three heart story. Itís solidly plotted, the characters develop an interest in each other for the right reasons and have plausible reasons to avoid that interest. Kateís affection for children who arenít her own make her a decent, compassionate character. She realizes her love for children can create a family, even if she isnít sure her love for Jess will ever be returned. Jessí investigation of his sisterís death and his rescue of the forlorn little girl shows him he isnít as washed up as he thought. He discovers that his love for his son, though it was thwarted for years, is returned. Eventually Jess begins to think about a future for himself that isnít what heíd planned for a few months before. Thereís nothing wrong with this story.

There just isnít that much to talk about, either. While I like Jess and Kate, Iím not consumed with interest in them either. You know they arenít going to hurt each other too much. Despite their battered pasts, you feel sure that the future isnít going to deal them another crushing blow. Other than Jessí investigation, there are no surprises here. I wish the characters in the story well, but they didnít leave me desperate to read the continuation of this series.

--Irene Williams


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