The prolific Macomber follows up Thursdays at eight with this scrapbook-style novel, which relies solely on letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries and even school essays to tell the story of a friendship spanning more than half a century. Born in 1948 in the same Washington State town, Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski have vastly different backgrounds. Wealthy Jillian is on a trajectory to become a lawyer like her father. Just as smart, but from the wrong side of the tracks, Lesley is destined to remain in their native Washington; like her mother, she becomes pregnant at a young age by an alcoholic philanderer. Despite their different circumstances, Jillian and Lesley forge a grade-school friendship that lasts a lifetime and is evoked in their various communiques. Macomber's storytelling is undermined by the ambitious choice of format. Rather than providing intimacy, the "just a short note" conceit deals superficially with the most significant events of the last 50 years (a quick perusal of the half-page e-mail devoted to the World Trade Center attack will be enough to confirm this) and with the characters themselves, who are somewhat thinly drawn. As for the lessons learned - it's generally easier to be rich than poor, it's never too late to take up golf - there's not much that's revelatory. Still, while this book is unlikely to win her new fans, Macomber's old ones will give it a chance. Author tour. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.