Another tale of trembling traumas and quivering innards, by the wildly successful Briskin—who here flutters her chiffon prose to reveal two miserably mismatched couples. The settings range from occupied France during WW II through L.A. and Manhattan (and a burb) to Paris in 1964. Ann Blakely, sole offspring of a brace of American dodos—who don't wedge themselves out of Paris before the Nazis come—and beautiful, sardonic Gilberte de Permont, daughter of the kind and high-minded Baron de P., are best of friends in Paris. Then the Nazis arrive. Ann, thanks to Gilberte's second cousin—the aristocratic American Quent—is whisked out in the nick, leaving her parents, who won't budge. But Gilberte is left to watch her parents die by torture and to become a victim herself. She bitterly survives, becomes the mistress of a "good" German general who admired her father, and bears a child, Michel. But she has taken a vow to destroy the one who had betrayed her parents as Resistance fighters. Meanwhile, Ann and Quent have vowed eternal love, but Gilberte quashes that, and Ann marries weak Larry, adopts Michel, and takes him, for his safety, to the US. Soon Gilberte will also move to the US, become head of a haute couture house, marry reluctant Quent. And she's still in pursuit of revenge. Who's her target? Best friend Ann! Gilberte turns dragon lady, and there'll be a death, mad meetings, and general misery before she's detoxified. All the pop tremors are here—classy clothes and digs, bel canto sex, fearless metaphorical flights ("A juggernaut of fear was flattening Gilberte's conscience"), and even a tiny flurry of French words. The Naked Heart will pump up sales-and readership.
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