Tatooine Ghost by Troy Denning (2003, Del Rey)
In The Truce at Bakura (which I reviewed way back in June), Anakin Skywalker makes a postmortem appearance to Leia and asks her forgiveness for all of the horrible atrocities he committed as Darth Vader. Unlike the saintly Luke Skywalker of Return of the Jedi, a furious Leia refuses to grant that forgiveness. She cannot separate the contrite Anakin from the evil he has since renounced. Anakin’s spirit departs, hoping that one day Leia can let go of her hatred and resentment. It’s easily the most powerful passage in the novel.
Tatooine Ghost, published a full decade later, directly addresses Leia’s daddy issues and attempts to bridge the “classic” expanded universe with the events of the prequels, two of which had been released by the time of this book’s publication. A mission to recover an Alderaanian moss painting that also happens to contain the code key to a secret New Republic communication network takes Leia, Han, Chewie, and Threepio to Tatooine, where the painting is being auctioned off. When Imperials show up at the auction and the proverbial shit hits the fan, none other than a grown-up Kitster yanks the painting right off the auction block and makes off with it.
You remember Kitster, right? He was one of Anakin’s friends from The Phantom Menace. Also appearing is the stocky Rodian known as Wald. Both appear to have grown up to be less annoying in this book than they were in the movie.
The action of the book has our heroes racing against the Imperials to track down Kitster and the painting, but the novel’s most important element is not tied directly to that plot. While briefly staying at the old Lars homestead (now owned by the Darklighters), Leia is given an old video diary belonging to Shmi Skywalker that she had intended to give to her son, but never got the chance. Through Shmi’s entries, Leia begins to understand Anakin Skywalker’s humanity, and while there is no official pronouncement of forgiveness, Leia is clearly letting go of her grudge by the end of this book.