THE WILD VINES by Beverly C. Warren


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Warren's third romance (Invitation to a Waltz, 1983; That Gentle Touch, 1984) is the story of yuppie love in a quaint little Massachusetts town. It's also Just Plain Awful. Lithe and lovely 24-year-old Cassandra (""Everyone calls me Cassie"") Edmond lives in a cute coastal town with her grandmother Tillie, who is quite a character. Together they run Hawthorne Farms, which specializes in herbs, and Cassie also landscapes herbal gardens for a favored few. One day two handsome architect brothers, Jeff and Zach Bennett, buy High Tower, an old mansion, and Jeff, the younger, sets about trying to win Cassie's heart in a playful, puppy-doggish way. But Cassie has eyes only for the gorgeous but maddeningly arrogant Zach--his ""attractively crooked"" smile and ""heroic proportions,"" not to mention the ""touch of mockery"" in his eyes, make her feel all, well, tingly inside. Zach is also very sua-vay when it comes to things like wine: ""Red wines are always served at room temperature,"" he lectures a grateful Cassie, ""and white is always chilled. One never puts ice cubes in wine."" But the fly in the ointment is statuesque Gloria Newcomb, whom Cassie mistakenly thinks is engaged to Zach. And Zach, for his part, thinks Cassie is all hot and bothered over his little brother. But when the story finally treacles to a close, all confusion is ended, and the two lovers find themselves in each other's arms: ""His lips were on hers, unleashing a passion that rivaled a volcanic eruption. Time fled like the scudding clouds above them as swishing leaves sang autumn's song."" Not a subtle performance. The characters talk as if they should be wearing period garb, and Carrie's crush on Zach is more like death by pressing. In a genre that has seen a lot of execrable writing, this may be Ground Zero.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday