The "sugar" of the title refers to a wide-eyed London divorcee who seeks her fortune in New York City, while the "spice" signifies the phenomenally wealthy Brazilian widow-with-a-shameful-past who befriends her. Mix them together to get a laughably overbaked melodrama—Gill's commerical debut. Pandora Doyle's problem is that she married too young; now divorced and not yet 30, she suffers from a relentless yearning to "find herself." When an old school chum offers her a job on a slick New York magazine she edits, Pandora jumps at the chance to escape her familiar English milieu. In New York, Pandora is introduced to the mysterious (and unimaginately named) millionairess Arianne de la Force, best known for having recently paid 55 million for a painting auctioned at Sotheby's. Eager young journalist that she is, Pandora decides to uncover the widow's unknown past, but her efforts prove futile until Arianne—who, as it turns out, grew up in the slums of Rio, worked as a prostitute in Paris, became a high-fashion model, and then a widow on her wedding day—befriends the spacey Englishwoman and lets her in on her little secret. All ends well as Pandora discovers a passion for furniture design, turns down a marriage proposal from a Murdoch-like tycoon, and falls for an ecologically minded recluse—while Arianne manages single-handedly to conquer the ghosts of her past. A dash of paprika might have helped.
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