Elizabeth and Jackson Shore married young, raised two daughters, and weathered the storms of youth as they built a family. From a distance, their lives look picture perfect. But after the girls leave home, Jack and Elizabeth quietly drift apart. When Jack accepts a wonderful new job, Elizabeth puts her own needs aside to follow him across the country. Then tragedy turns Elizabeth's world upside down. In the aftermath, she questions everything about her life-her choices, her marriage, even her long-forgotten dreams. In a daring move that shocks her husband, friends, and daughters, she lets go of the woman she has become-and reaches out for the woman she wants to be. Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more. RandomHouseReadersCircle.com
Having found her audience with Summer Island and On Mystic Lake, Hannah returns with another second-chance-at-love story, this one as bleak as the soggy Pacific Northwest setting. Perimenopausal former artist Elizabeth Shore is feeling lost and miserable these days, as daughters Jamie and Stephanie matriculate at Georgetown and husband Jack focuses on jump-starting his stalled sports broadcasting career. So Elizabeth, tellingly nicknamed "Birdie," compulsively redecorates her empty nest and pesters Jack with lugubrious questions about what's wrong with their lives. Then Jack scores a journalistic coup, and in his implausibly meteoric return to broadcasting glory, winds up in an efficiency apartment in New York City, halfheartedly fending off the advances of both a nubile assistant and a Hollywood bombshell. Meanwhile, back in rainy Oregon, Birdie grieves for her beloved late father, joins a support group for "passionless" women, starts to paint again and talks to herself in the self-help homilies Hannah favors ("No more cheerleader years for me. I need to get in the game"). She even has a rapprochement with newly widowed stepmother Anita, who, in a particularly explosive burst of character development, somehow transforms from a tacky Southern "Bette Midler on speed" to a white-haired sylph favoring "long, flowing" white dresses. (When Birdie finds her bliss, she discovers she's miraculously lost weight.) Hannah's tried-and-true formula includes the predictable happy ending, complete with life lessons tearfully learned, but only hardcore fans will make it to the last page of this dreary soap. 6-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 29, 2003
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Excerpt from Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah
It all started with a second martini.
"Come on," Meghann said, "have another drink."
"No way." Elizabeth didn't handle alcohol well; God knew that had been proven conclusively back in 1976 when she'd been at the University of Washington.
"You can't refuse to drink at my forty-second birthday party. Remember how drunk I got last spring when you turned forty-five?"
What a debacle that had been.
Meghann sensed hesitation, and like any good attorney, she pounced on it. "I'll have Johnny pick us up." "Are you sure Johnny's old enough to drive?"
"Now, that hurts. All of my boyfriends have their driver's licenses."
"And I thought you had no standards."
"I keep them as low as possible." Meghann raised her hand and flagged down the waitress, who hurried over. "We'll take two more martinis. And bring us a plate of nachos-heavy on the refried beans."
Elizabeth couldn't help smiling. "This is going to be ugly."
The waitress returned, set two elegant glasses down on the table, and picked up the empties.
"Here's to me," Meghann said, clinking her glass against Elizabeth's.
For the next hour, their conversation drifted down old roads and around old times. They'd been friends for more than twenty years. In the two decades since college, their lives had gone in opposite directions-Elizabeth had put all her energies into wife-and-motherhood; Meghann had become a first-rate divorce attorney-but their friendship had never wavered. For years, as Elizabeth and her family had moved from town to town, they'd kept in touch via e-mail and phone calls. Now, finally, they lived close enough to see each other on special occasions. It was one of the things Elizabeth loved most about living in Oregon.