ANGEL FALLS by Kristin Hannah

It had never occurred to me before that Kristin Hannah’s novels resemble Jodi Picoult’s. Like Jodi Picoult, this novel has a punning title. Like her, the novel takes place in small-town USA where everyone knows one another. Like her, it is filled with the minutiae of parenting two kids in modern-day America, where smart organizational abilities and unflappability are a must.  Unlike Jodi Picoult, this novel doesn’t involve lawyers, nor does it involve courtroom drama.

Instead, it is the story of what happens to a family when one of its members is incapacitated by injury for several weeks. Mikaela Campbell, beloved wife and mother of two, hits her head so hard after falling from her horse that she falls into a coma.

As we gradually uncover her secrets – that she was previously married to a Hollywood star – this novel begins to resemble HOME AGAIN, another of Ms. Hannah’s early novels. Like HOME, we have a three-ring triangle, a woman loved desperately by two men, one of them “ordinary” and decent, the other a Hollywood star. In both, Ms. Hannah moralizes about their lives, instead of letting the reader draw her own conclusions.

This retelling of HOME AGAIN is more compelling, mainly because the writing is more powerful. Unfortunately, the novel fizzles as everything gathers together for the required happy ending. Three stars.