Interrupted Lullaby by Valerie Parv
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1095, $4.50, PG) ISBN# 0-373-27165-4
****
After giving birth to a stillborn baby boy, a grief-stricken Tara McNiven abandoned her lucrative modeling career and focused her energies on a private foundation she created to benefit needy children. While giving a speech to raise money, Tara notices Zeke Blaxland in the audience.

An investigative journalist, Zeke recently returned to Australia from nearly two years in the States. The father of Taraís child, Zeke had been the most important person in her life. Passionately in love with him, but unwilling to bind him to her because of their child, she had vainly hoped that he would accompany his invitation to America with a declaration of love.

Zeke was emotionally unable to do that, so Tara watched him leave, still having not told him she was pregnant. Immediately he started relationship and she prepared herself to live a life without him. Not only has Zeke returned to Sydney, but his current project is exposing charities which pass on only a meager percentage of their donations to the recipients.

Zekeís attention is abruptly drawn to a newer and more potentially explosive scandal by an informant who alleges that personnel at one of the local hospitals appear to have participated in truly heinous crimes; that of switching dead infants for living ones, and then selling them to adoptive parents.

Zeke investigates the period of time involved and finds Taraís name as a patient. Their ensuing confrontation showcases Parvís skilled writing, and the emotional baggage of both Tara and Zeke is carefully but not tediously unveiled.

Parv brings a flavor of Australia to the story with a hero and heroine in interesting careers. These characters are very well developed and the dialogue is crisp and always in voice. The plot is thoughtfully incorporated into the love story and becomes a tool for enhancing character development.

A mystery reader may have read this plot line before, but Parv invigorates it with a fresh approach that involves characters she has made you care about. The integration of the romance and mystery is total, accomplished with a deft subtle hand, and represents the personification of what the Silhouette Intimate Moment series strives to achieve. Interrupted Lullaby is a great summer read.

--Thea Davis


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