by Sukey HowardAugust, 2002
A functional family
If you read the interview with Jeanne Ray about her new novel, Step-Ball-Change, in our May issue and haven't read the book yet, then you're in luck. Don't misunderstand, I'm certainly not putting the book down; I just think this charmer is even more fun on audio, performed by its charming author (Brilliance Audio, $24.95, 6 hours, ISBN 1590860829). Counter to Tolstoy's famous dictum that happy families are all alike, Caroline and Tom McSwain, happily married for many years with four happy, grownup kids, are not really like any other family I know, but that's their unique appeal. Not that they're problem-free Caroline's never-close, soon-to-be-divorced sister arrives needing much TLC; their only daughter, just engaged to the most eligible bachelor in all of Raleigh, is having qualms; their whole house is literally teetering on a weakening foundation; and the crew that's working on it has become part of daily life. They muddle through with wit and wisdom won from long years of tolerance and togetherness and it's a muddle you won't want to miss.