by Julie HaleAugust, 2006
Lost in the Forest
Miller's latest, another finely crafted novel about the nature of romantic love, is set in the California wine country. Happily settled in her second marriage, Eva runs a bookstore and takes care of her three children. When John, her second husband, is hit by a car and killed, Eva is forced to re-evaluate her life. Her oldest daughter, the pretty, self-assured Emily, assumes a position of leadership in the family as the children struggle with the loss of their stepfather. Theo, the youngest, is too small to grasp what's happening, while 15-year-old Daisy suffers most of all. Overwhelmed by grief, she becomes involved with an older man in a sexually charged, ultimately damaging affair. The encounter changes Daisy's life forever, and she reflects on it in passages of the book that are set in the future, after she's reached adulthood. These moving sections are skillfully woven into the novel and create a striking juxtaposition to the main storyline. Meanwhile, Mark, Eva's first husband and the children's father, re-enters the picture, lending support to the family and discovering that he still has feelings for Eva. This poignant narrative is a rich exploration of love, grief and the endurance of the human spirit, and Miller's many fans will savor it for the fresh insights it provides into family relationships and the process of mourning. A reading group guide is included in the book.