New York Times Book Review has noted, "Alice Hoffman writes quite wonderfully about the magic in our lives," and now she casts her spell over a Long Island neighborhood filled with dreamers and dreams. In a dazzling series of family portraits, Hoffman evokes the world of the Samuelsons, a family torn apart by tragedy and divorce in a world of bad judgment and fierce attachments, disappointments and devotion.
With rich, pure prose Hoffman charts the progress of Gretel Samuelson from the time she is a young girl already acquainted with betrayal and grief, until she finally leaves home. Gretel's sly, funny, knowing perspective is at the heart of this collection, as she navigates through loyalty and loss with the help of an unforgettable trio of women: her best friend, Jill, her romance-addled cousin Margot, and her mother, Franny, whose spiritual journey affects them all. Told in alternating voices, these stories are funny and lyrical, disturbing and healing, each a lesson in survival, a reminder of the ties of blood, and the power of friendship.