DEEP IN THE HEART by Barbara Bickmore


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 A set-in-Texas romantic extravaganza that runs the gamut from 1960s hicksville to 1980s Houston with nary a dull moment. In backwoods Verity, Texas, single mother (she lost her husband in Vietnam) Francey Anderson is trying her hardest to raise daughter Carly, whom she's uprooted from L.A., where Carly was an honor student about to make the cheerleading team. Carly, however, never feels at home in Verity, with the exception of the way one ``Boomer'' Bannerman, her first love and an all-around great guy, makes her feel, namely like she's the only woman on earth. Carly's not just gorgeous like her actress/waitress mom, she's also smart; after Boomer leaves for college and says his good-byes, she becomes class valedictorian and works for several years in community leader Walt Davis's successful bank. When Verity starts to feel like a trap, Carly heads to Houston to make her fortune as a real-estate agent; it's no surprise that her romantic life picks up in the big city. The wealthy and snobbish Cole Coleridge eventually wins her hand, but it's his black sheep brother Ben who fathers her child when Cole proves impotent. Boomer reappears, of course, now involved (but it's hard to tell how willingly) with Cole's former flame and leading Houston socialite/businesswoman Alex Headland. Back in Verity, Zelda Marie, Carly's only friend from home, provides a counterpoint to Carly's glamorous life, and while Carly's climbing the ranks, Francey and Mr. Davis are becoming more than friends. By the schmaltzy, feel-good end, everyone's got what they deserve and, in a pleasant and unusual twist, the women generally come out on top. Bickmore (Homecoming, 1995, etc.) is in peak form here, avoiding stereotypical leads and keeping the plot moving at a breakneck but satisfying clip: altogether, a romantic yarn with a sense of fun as large as, well, Texas.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-57566-039-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996