Robin Lee Hatcher's new novel, LEGACY LANE, is part of a series she calls "Hart's Crossing" after the Idaho town in which they're set (Hatcher herself lives near Boise).
Angie Hunter has a picture-perfect home to which she's returning after years as a high-powered West Coast newspaper reporter. Angie is returning home to help her mother, Francine, recuperate after knee surgery, but she hasn't yet told her mother that she's also trying to decide what to do next with her life, having quit her job.
Meanwhile, Angie finds that there's plenty of pressure on her to return home permanently, from the cranky encouragement of her childhood friend and busy married mom, Terry, to the warm interest of high-school crush and editor of the local paper, Bill Palmer, who is a committed Christian. Her mother's friends from quilting club are also eager to see their dear friend Francine have her beloved daughter safe at home again.
There aren't any surprises here: while Angie hasn't exactly jumped a pew by the story's end, she has certainly begun to see that the faith making so many people around her content and whole might have something in it for her, too. But while there aren't any surprises here, I found myself wondering what Hatcher has planned for the other three "Hart's Crossing" volumes --- and that's probably what she had in mind all along. LEGACY LANE may be slight and light, but so is meringue --- and sometimes meringue hits the spot. Hatcher fans will be happy to begin their "Hart's Crossing" collection with this frothy introduction.
One quick note here: It seems clear just from a glance at the quaint painting on the dustjacket that these books will appeal to people who enjoy collecting books because of their dustjacket paintings. LEGACY LANE sports a portrait of a darling gingerbread-trimmed home surrounded by carefully tended flowering plants --- just the sort of place that people dream about when they think of popular-culture conceptions of home à la Thomas Kinkade's paintings.
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick on November 13, 2011