By Jennifer Reese
Updated September 07, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Middle-aged Sarabeth is a lampshade designer in Northern California hung up on a married lover. Her best friend forever, Liz, is a housewife and yoga devotee. The two meet regularly for gossipy Thai dinners — until Liz’s daughter becomes depressed and the friendship abruptly falls apart. Ann Packer is a talented writer, and her acclaimed 2002 debut, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, posed the urgent question: Could a young woman justify abandoning her boyfriend after his crippling accident? Songs Without Words, a limp, lukewarm second act, merely wonders: Will Sarabeth and Liz ever again eat red curry beef together? B-