The Best Revenge


Dear Stranger

French Quarter

Glass Houses

Guilty Pleasures

Key West

More and More

Sheer Pleasures

True Bliss

Wait for Me

The Wish Club

Finding Ian by Stella Cameron
(Kensington, $22.99, PG) ISBN# 1-57566-713-4
Finding Ian represents a departure from Stella Cameronís recent romantic suspense novels. Finding Ian involves the issue of adoption, its impact on the child, its consequences to the relinquishing parents and the effect on the adopting parents and their extended family.

Dr. Byron Frazier is a renowned expert on family relationships, making his living on talk shows, book royalties and patient consultations. His deep dark secret, that is the basis of overpowering guilt, is that thirteen years ago he relinquished a child for adoption. Byron was unable to cope - at just 21he was a struggling student newly married to a girl he adored who had died at the birth of their son.

Tossing money at that guilt, he had kept tabs on the child over the years. He recently discovered that both of the adopting parents have died, and that the child has been sent to Cornwall, England to reside with a spinsterish aunt. Byron feels that notwithstanding the fact that he has relinquished his parental rights, he has a responsibility to make certain that the child is well cared for and adapting to his new life.

Upon arriving in Cornwall, Byron contrives a chance meeting with Ian at a church to assess the situation. He finds a waspish, elderly lady who is martyred by her guardianship role of Ian, and who is extracting every ounce of sympathy she can from the village for her role. Ian has made no friends, and characteristic of those children who are treated as if they are burdens; he is on his way to becoming one.

Byron invites Ian to his cottage under the guise of offering to continue his guitar lessons. Muriel, Ianís aunt, is as suspicious of this gesture as any reader would be.

Meanwhile, Murielís niece Jade, divorced and slightly over thirty, had completed trade school and is running her fatherís construction repair business. The rental agency had contracted with her to repair the cottage Byron is leasing while he is there. Upon meeting, sparks fly between Jade and Byron. Jade, jaunty, loving and capable, resents the way her family is treating Ian. She is the mover and shaker who wakes them up to the responsibilities of family.

Stella Cameron fashions her characters utilizing the extremes. Not only do they represent polar positions in personalities, but also for her principals, one is cast in darkness, and one in light. Set within this structure, the driving theme is that of redemption and rebirth.

Readers that have a low tolerance for self-absorbed characters may find parts of Finding Ian tedious. The values that the author touts are commendable and certainly ones to which everyone should aspire. However, sometimes their presentation lacks subtlety.

Nevertheless, Finding Ian addresses adoption from almost every conceivable angle, and is certainly one worthy of consideration, both by readers who have been through the procedure and those who have not.

--Thea Davis

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