ANGEL by Barbara Taylor Bradford


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 Bradford has never really matched her A Woman of Substance (1979) in plot go-go and sentimental appeal. Here, again, is another eddy of love troubles among rich ciphers who circle limply at low speed. It's a good hundred pages into this biggie before the relationships among the personae are clarified. But center stage through it all is costume designer Rosie Madigan, who's been creating for film star Gavin Ambrose, an old friend. Gavin is about to launch a Napoleonic saga, which is handy for Rose since she has family in France: estranged nasty husband Guy; Guy's päre, the Comte Montfleurie, whom Rosie adores; and le Comte's widowed daughter-in-law and her children. As for action in France: there'll be one death, one divorce, one match-making. But, then, back in America, there'll also be a love blasting into Rosie's life-- popular ``balladeer,'' Johnny Fortune, from a devoted Mafia family, is jolted with interest when Rosie admires his English Regency dessert stands and his George III candlesticks. Johnny's agent is Nell (another old friend), who's involved with none other than Kevin, Rosie's brother and an undercover NYPD cop. And guess whom he's out to smash? (Poor Johnny has never known what his uncles do for a living.) Never seen is Rosie's sister Sunny, gonzo on drugs and institutionalized, and Mikey, gone forever but where? Meanwhile, since everyone is gold-plated or famous already, it's love and more love that's the game. But can Rosie find happiness with a singing idol? Bradford latches onto detail like a terrier, so it's not surprising that the sex scenes are miracles of painstaking exposition, with the occasional prÇcis: ``Their mouths were locked; they were welded together.'' Compared to peers like Steel and Krantz, Bradford is all elbows--but count on her rep to nudge this creaking craft up the charts.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1993
ISBN: 0-394-55959-2
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993


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