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Crescent Blues Book ViewsBallantine Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0345450736

Repeat after me: "It's fiction." Say it now to prevent yourself from counseling people on real-life issues using facts from a novel -- a move I made twice in one week after I finished reading the book.

Book: Kristin Hannah, sister sister
First, I told someone how to prevent their spouse from hiring a better divorce lawyer. Realizing my advice came from a novel, I quickly said that I recently read this, but I purposely failed to mention the source. The second time, I found myself sharing a technique for dealing with a serious life crisis. (Sorry, no details, lest I spoil a major and totally unexpected twist in the book.) When I realized that I again advised from a novel, I felt like one of those whackos who talk about movies the same way they talk about the evening news.

Plan to remind yourself that Kristin Hannah made up her convincing sisters, Meghann and Claire, as well as their intriguing family and friends. Then free yourself to feel their joys and pains.

Nobody messes with Meghann Dontess. A divorce lawyer known as the "Bitch of Belltown," her take-no-prisoners, go-for-the-jugular, sock-it-to-a-cheatin' husband approach proves the moniker well earned. But even a kick-butt record and Armani suits fail to disguise what everyone else sees: an abundance of hurt and bitterness, and above all, loneliness. Not even casual sex with men whose names she cares nothing about fills the void.

Book: Kristin Hannah, Angel falls
When a work-related incident forces her to take a much-needed vacation, Meghann's loneliness becomes more apparent. What now? With her best friend vacationing in Europe and her washed-up TV star mom still clinging to illusions of grandeur, spending time with family and friends feels impossible. Spending time with her sister, Claire Cavenaugh? No way. Meghann dismisses the advice of her shrink, Dr. Bloom, who recommends she come to terms with her sister and their troubled upbringing, rather than mask her problems with prescription drugs and one-night stands.

When Claire calls with a wedding announcement, Meghann discovers a suitable diversion: stopping her little sister from marrying the twice-divorced, wannabe country singer she met a mere few weeks ago. Challenged by a situation she can neither control nor buy her way out of, Meg must face her past with Claire. In the process, she learns more about love and faith than she ever imagined possible.

Stacey Carter-Lane

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