"But Mother is always dying," is Gillian Ormsby's sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed--waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there's no medical reason behind her mother's state. Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows. Soon, Mother's health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio are going on a cruise. Before Gillian has time to turn around, her mother is gone and she is left high and dry again, and wondering, what is she going to do with the rest of her own life?
Snelling (One Perfect Day) strikes a blow for family values in a story about a family that is not close either geographically or emotionally. Gillian Ormsby is a New York corporate executive returns to her California home to take care of her mother Dorothy, who appears to be physically healthy but who won't do anything but sleep. Gillian's sister, Allison, the preferred child who stayed close to home, is being less than helpful. When Gillian arrives after crossing the country, she finds her mother's once beautiful garden as wilted as its caretaker. She is aided in her efforts by her mother's dapper friend, Enzio, who brings killer pastries when he visits, and her mother's neighbor Adam, who owns a dog and a garden store and happens to be handsome. The narrative hits some true notes: Dorothy's passive depression will strike those caring for elderly parents as familiar. Off-notes include Allison, who needs more characterization, and Gillian's generic corporate career. The tale is uneven, but Snelling can certainly charm. (Apr.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.