he splendid and heartbreaking nuances of creating a family are explored with a tender and visceral sense of truth in Barbara Delinsky's The Woman Next Door. When neighbors discover that the young widow among them is newly pregnant, three wives have reasons to fear that the unnamed father is her own husband. For Amanda O'Leary, a school psychologist coping with the trauma of a popular student's suicide, the questions about Gretchen's pregnancy are doubly painful. Amanda and Graham O'Leary have undergone infertility treatments for years, and the suspicions and envy haunt Amanda as she struggles for acceptance in Graham's baby-bountiful family.

If Graham is not the father, Karen fears it's her husband, Lee, who has already been unfaithful in a string of affairs. Even Georgia, who leaves behind her househusband Ross and their children, cannot escape the painful questions and fears.

In the seemingly ordinary domestic crucible of a country cul de sac, Delinsky poses the dramatic questions of the ages with powerful writerly craft and candor. With affirming and memorable fiction, she creates a moving story of the triumphs of family life.

Sandy Huseby writes and reviews from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside in northern Minnesota.

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