OUT OF DANGER by Suzanne Lipsett (Atheneum: $18.95; 256 pp.).
This sensitively written story of how three generations of women handle a crisis that strikes the core of their all-female family is absorbing to the end. With extraordinary empathy and forceful characterization, the author explores the private attitudes of:
Elly, a 36-year-old woman who has walked out of a broken-down marriage and supports herself and her daughter; Laurel, her vivacious 12-year-old who is abducted, sexually abused and who finally returns months later, terrified, confused and withdrawn; Vera, the 76-year-old grandmother whose strength is ebbing with age but who forms a deep and understanding bond with her disturbed granddaughter.
The complex mother-daughter relationships are skillfully woven throughout the story as each of the three women battles her way through the tragedy of Laurel's abduction.
Particularly poignant chapters describe Vera as she heroically deals with her deteriorating body and her sometimes profane exasperation at being treated like an old woman.
The solution of how each of these women finally finds peace kept this reader enthralled to the last page.