Ellen Gilchrist is writing about her usual cast of characters, the women of the Hand family. However, the tone of this outing into Hand family lore is slightly darker that in her earlier titles. In the beginning the Hand women are all headed toward North Carolina for a cousin's wedding, but instead of a wedding, they attend a funeral, as the fiance was killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. In one way on another the events of 9/11 influence the lives of all the female cousins. Three of them fall in love and marry men who will eventually be involved in the Iraq War. There are more funerals and heartbreak to follow, but at the same time a feeling that these women will be as strong as their forebearers. I am making this sound grimer than it really is, because Ellen Gilchrist has the ability to make us see the ebb and flow of everyday life in a very pleasurable way. We are left with the women struggling on, with perhaps further adventures of the New Orleans Hands. The last entry in the book reads: "Aug. 27, 2005 -- Major hurricane forming in the Gulf of Mexico." One supposes that Katrina is a story for another novel.
A Dangerous Age