Seaside (2001) From Publishers Weekly Blackstock, queen of the Christian suspense novel (Presumption of Guilt, Evidence of Mercy, etc.), departs from the thrills-and-chills genre to pen this agreeable, but never syrupy, story of a family reunion. Maggie Downing invites her adult daughters for a week of fun in the Florida sunshine, expecting that they will be able to regain some of the closeness they have lost over the years. But both daughters initially resist: Sarah pleads the excuse of not being able to leave her two young children, while the younger Corinne claims she cannot take a vacation from the three fledgling businesses she is trying to run. They do come, but are armed with cell phones and laptops, ignoring their mother's requests for the three of them to spend quality time together. Then Maggie reveals that she has struggled for a year with ovarian cancer and expects to lose the battle sooner rather than later. As the daughters deal with the shock and try to come to terms with the possibility of losing their mother, old bitterness and rivalry ebb away. While the plot is predictable, the dialogue is wonderfully natural and the strong female characters surprisingly well-developed for a novel this brief. The novella's themes of forgiveness and eternal life undergird the plot and characters, but in an unobtrusive, nondidactic way. (Feb.)Forecast: Christian readers who enjoy believable women characters will be drawn to this story, particularly as thoughtful vacation reading, relishing Maggie's message that "time wasted is not always a waste of time."