by Gloria Goldreich

Boston: Little, Brown

439pp., $18.95

In this fictionalized version of the Mary Beth Whitehead story, Nina and David Roth visit the Museum of the Holocaust in Israel where David becomes obsessed, as never before, with the notion of Jewish loss. Nina is unable to bear children.

Enter Stacey Cosgrove, a bright and selfless mother of three whose obstetrician happens to be David’s brother. The money she could earn through surrogate-mothering could fulfill her family’s dream to relocate to California. Introductions are made, plots and waist thicken. The good will between the Roths and the Cosgroves has included, amazingly, an above-board one night stand for David and Stacey (no cold, artificial insemination for these virtuous characters). Finally, though, a tragedy calls for unexpected, Solomonic consolations.

A saccharine but sensitive story unfolds about what are, after all, important issues: the parenting drives of men and women, relationships, the dark realities of Jewish continuity. An easy read.

Ruth Schnur is an avid reader who lives in Southern New Jersey