Books: Life On Hemlock Street

SEVENTH HEAVEN by Alice Hoffman; Putnam; 256 pages; $19.95

In her eighth and by far best book, Alice Hoffman creates characters so true to their moment in time that future generations trying to reproduce life in a Long Island suburb in 1959 could use this as a blueprint. Hoffman introduces us to Nora Silk as she is moving into a little box of a home, so much like the others "that children wandered into the wrong house for cookies and milk." Her feckless husband, a magician who cannot even get hired for children's birthday parties, has left her and fled to...