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Hearts on a String    by Kris Radish order for
Hearts on a String
by Kris Radish
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though the basic plot of Kris Radish's Hearts on a String is a well-worn one - five very different women meet and bond in unusual circumstances, the experience changing them in important ways - and the characters are not deep, the author's approach has a wild and wacky aspect to it that injects fun into the plotline.

The Prologue shares a 'simple, lovely, and unforgettable' story a great-grandmother tells a small child, about 'the precious, beautiful, sweet string that connects all women', a string that can never be broken. The little girl remembers what her great-grandmother tells her, but readers don't learn her identity till much later.

After they meet in an airport restroom and rescue the enraged Nan Telvid's cell phone from a toilet, Nan and four other women learn that they have been stranded in Florida by a powerful spring storm. Nan is an investment banker. Brassy blond hamburger executive Cathy Girard (who knows Nan's husband) had been drinking with her in the bar. Sixty-something singer Patti Nuttycombe's voice is 'a throaty, sexy rumble that would make even a dying man want to take off his clothes.' Margo Engelstrom, mother of three teenagers, finds the whole thing funny. And insecure, slightly overweight hairstylist Holly, the youngest of the group, fears she has a brain tumor.

Looking at the turmoil in the airport, the women take up Nan's offer to share her luxury hotel suite, where storms rage inside and out as they get to know one another. Adding to the tension is a bustling psychic convention at the hotel and a warning (from the psychics?) about sexual predators on hotel grounds. Gradually the five 'emotionally diverse' women begin to bond over cooking, makeovers, and buying swimsuits. They start sharing their secrets with each other - from insider trading to a killing - and gradually danger sneaks up on them. But it turns out that these five women also have surprising talents in reserve.

The story ends again at the airport as five women who started as strangers go their separate ways ... but sporting the same T-shirt and determined to remain in each other's lives. Hearts on a String is light but entertaining, perfect for beach or hammock reading.

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