Victor (Absence of Pain, 1989) offers up a second romantic potboiler--a tale of a former Long Island housewife who must choose between a glamorous life in Paris and remarriage to a fellow from her old hometown. Misunderstandings have dogged Gabriella Carlucci-Molloy all her life, particularly since this restless Italian-American housewife who longed to disown her heritage was instead disowned by her philandering husband and her spoiled daughter, Dina. After the divorce, Gabriella escaped to Paris, playing the role of glamorous victim while building a career as a photojournalist and initiating an affair with an unpleasant French intellectual. In her wake she left a pool of small-town speculation as to why she would betray her apparently loving ex-husband, an attorney, and desert her teen-aged daughter. When news arrives in Paris that her ex-husband has died of a heart attack, Gabriella returns to Long Island in the hope that his death will serve to reunite her with her daughter. Alas, Dina turns a cold shoulder to her mother, but all is not lost as Gabriella meets Nick Tressa, a handsome building contractor with whom she's soon having an affair, more or less neglecting the daughter she's come to save. While Dina deals with her father's death, the break-up of her affair with an older man, and a car accident that leaves her in the hospital, Gabriella vacillates over whether to marry Nick, gossips with her professional colleagues in New York, and occasionally weeps a little over her broken ties with her daughter. In the end, Gabriella opts for romance in Long Island--while her daughter seems to forgive her her flighty past. A tale of misdirected ambition, with remarkably unsympathetic characters.