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Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-19269-5

One evening after too much champagne and good conversation, Ellen Markowitz does the unthinkable -- she sleeps with Hall Talbot, her partner in the OB-GYN practice where they work. Even worse -- he calls out another woman's name. With that single mistake, the easy friendship and strong partnership between the pair suddenly becomes awkward and strained. And the fact that neither can remember if they used protection adds to the stress.

Book: barbara bretton: Girls of summer
Soon Ellen's life gets even more complicated. Like any other small town, news of Ellen and Hall's night together quickly spreads all over Shelter Rock Cove, Maine. A few patients cancel appointments and find new doctors, but most take things in stride. Things get more eventful when Ellen's half sister Deirdre O'Brien shows up on her doorstep with Stanley, a 115-pound, friendly, canine behemoth, just as Ellen prepares to move into the new house she bought. Deirdre needs someone to take Stanley for the summer so she can scoot off to a harp-playing gig at a hotel.

Compounding matters, Deirdre's car dies, which introduces her to local mechanic Scott. Sparks flare between Deirdre and Scott, while Ellen and Hall talk through the strain in their relationship. The partners eventually realize their feelings for each other run deeper than they believed. But a ghost from the Ellen and Deirdre's past turns up like the proverbial bad penny, throwing their lives into disarray. And Hall's best friend, Susan, doesn't seem pleased with his choice of girlfriend.

Barbara Bretton's tale begins as an "Oops, what did we do?" romance but builds into something stronger. Though two romances form the basis of the book, ultimately this book becomes a tale of sisterhood and the bonds of family. Bretton writes wonderfully complex characters, full of grace, humor and deep emotions. She captures the nuances of small-town life wonderfully, especially the gossipy nature of the town's inhabitants, but also the "We're all in this together" mentality.

Jen Foote

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