THE DISTANCE BEWEEN US is a love story, and also the story of two f a d e s , one of Scottish-Italian descent of three generations, the other just a single mother and her son. The families live thousands of miles apart. By the end, two of their members have fallen in love. I raced greedily through my first reading as though gorging on a box of chocolates. Then, sated, I felt somewhat ashamed. Had it really been that gripping?