Book review: “Tuesday Night Miracles”

by Kris Radish (Bantam Books)

You were pretty sure your head was going to explode.

Oh, that’s right. You were mad – so mad that you couldn’t see straight, that anger was buzzing in your ears, that your blood was running a NASCAR lap around your insides. You were seeing red and three other colors, angry enough that you were afraid of yourself there for a minute.

Fortunately, you calmed down before you did something rash. But in the new novel “Tuesday Night Miracles” by Kris Radish, four women weren’t so lucky.

On the eve of her retirement, Dr. Olivia Bayer was given a gift of sorts. For years, Livie had wanted to do something bold and radical with her therapy groups, something that had never been done before. On the eve of her retirement, she was finally given permission and four color-coded folders, each representing a woman with a life in shambles.

It was no surprise that Kit Ferranti’s code was green, since envy played such a part in her childhood. Reeling from the death of her mother, Kit had reacted strongly to her family’s usual taunting. She should have been used to it. It’d been happening since she was born, but this time, Kit snapped. She grabbed a broken wine bottle and went after her brother, Mike.

A red code fit Jane Castoria well. Jane enjoyed a high-powered career as a realtor for Chicago’s ritziest properties. She was powerful, smart, and always impeccably dressed. So when she attacked a colleague with one of her stiletto-heeled shoes, even that was apt.

Blue – the code of serenity – was all wrong for Grace Collins. A single mother and busy doctor, Grace had been trying for years to hold a million things together but the problems were piling up. It was no surprise, then, that Grace lost her composure one night and rammed into her daughter’s boyfriend’s car.

Latecomer Leah Hetzer lived life under a black cloud, so a black code was fitting. Sweet, gentle Leah married young and had two children that she adored and protected from their abusive father. So how could anyone explain the night she lost control and smacked her kids?

Dr. Olivia Bayer was given a gift on the eve of her retirement. It’d take a miracle for it to work.

Though this novel very badly needed proofreading, there are many wonderful things about “Tuesday Night Miracles.” Character development seems to be one of author Kris Radish’s strengths, and she uses it to the utmost. The women in this book are complex and interesting and, even as they admit their abundance of failings, they’re likeable. You almost have to wish they were real.

Radish employs wry humor with a light touch here, and she includes details that are believable and tantalizingly possible.  These things kept me reading and they kept me loving this novel.

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