Disturbing the Peace: Engaging and Entertaining, but Probably not for Oprah
June Tough
7/13/2002 10:53:25 PM

Disturbing the Peace [Avon Books], by Nancy Newman, is a sometimes serious, often humorous, light and entertaining read. This is the story of Sarah Bridges, who is rapidly approaching her 35th Birthday and has become obsessed with finding her birth mother.

The tale, separated into three parts, is written convincingly in Sarah’s voice. In the first part, we are introduced to Sarah as a teacher and would-be author. Her book is among her many frustrations, second only to finding her mother. After a brief and disastrous marriage, she is currently living with a young artist named Stoddard in New York City, where she teaches English to immigrants.

Sarah feels she will go crazy if she has to go through her life staring at older women with similar physical characteristics to her own, wondering if they could be her mother. This mindset propels her to begin a quest to find her mother, starting with a visit to the grouchy old lawyer who handled her adoption.

Her search becomes so all consuming that it affects all aspects of her life, complicating her relationships with friends, students and Stoddard. Eventually, she must confront the woman who gave her up thirty-five years previously. In doing so, Sarah is able to deal with other issues in her life and, like all good stories, there is true love waiting just around the corner.

Disturbing the Peace is an engaging first novel and certainly not your typical mother-daughter book. The characters are mostly believable, although Alex Astor, the handsome immigrant/ millionaire is a little hard to believe. On the other hand, her students are often funny and sometimes very touching, especially Doc Chin. There is no graphic sex, rather Sarah alludes to her sexual situations, and the character of the mother is surprisingly believable.


All in all, Disturbing the Peace is probably not a future Oprah Book of the Month, but it is an entertaining piece of fiction. This book will find its greatest appeal among twenty or thirty something females.


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