Bert Cousins, assistant DA, crashes the christening party for Franny Keating, kisses her mother, and thus is set in motion a chain of events that unites two families with a total of six children. The story is told over a lifetime for the two generations, parents and children, in California and Virginia. Each chapter could stand alone as an exquisite short story. Franny’s long relationship with a much older, very famous writer is a pivotal chapter, bringing together multiple strands of the story. Patchett explores what it means to be a family, the effects of the passing of time, divorce and parenting, and the ripple effects one kiss can have on so many people. Highly recommended.