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Weale's hard-cover debut: an overambitious modern-day romance set in an English country manor. Jane Graham, comely heiress of a $50 million estate, could be perfectly happy if only she wasn't forced by the dictates of her late father's will to live under her guardian aunt's Boston-Brahmin wing until she turns 25 (two years hence) or marries, whichever comes first. Enter dashing but coldhearted North, Earl of Corlyon, a distant cousin whose British bloodline is impeccable but whose family money has run out. North, a photojournalist with a reputation as a womanizer, has come lo America to find a rich wife. Jane sees him as her chance to escape Boston. She proposes marriage, and soon the two are living at Longwarden--North's crumbling country estate, where Jane's ambition is to have many children and establish her own dynasty while North tosses and turns in bed at night, wondering why she doesn't really love him. It is this marriage, which Jane feels she can keep alive only by pretending not to desire her playboy husband, that forms the basis for a complex collection of hackneyed subplots involving far too many characters. These include: North's sister, Allegra, a best-selling author who longs to marry her Italian lover (a famous portrait painter who is going blind); North's mother, a self-effacing wallflower who has fallen in love with her butler; and Sarah, North's teen-aged cousin, who lusts after a Spanish Legionnaire hopelessly beneath her in social status. Powered by a routine assortment of romantic clich‚s, each romance chugs dutifully along, while suspense and narrative flow are spoiled at every turn by the author's compulsive cross-cutting. The love scenes are tepid and predictable, and there are a surprising number of errors in social etiquette scattered throughout the text. This pedestrian effort, more like a film treatment than a novel, proves remarkably forgettable despite its abundance of plot.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's