WHEN VENUS FELL by Deborah Smith


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A thick, goopy southern stew from veteran romancer Smith (A Place To Call Home, 1997, etc.), this time involving a touchy pianist, her dreamy sister, and a man fatefully intertwined with them both. Venus Arinelli holds a major grudge against the world: Ever since her left-wing father was accused of a political crime he didn’t commit—and died in prison--Venus has been struggling to escape the scrutiny of the FBI while she and sister Ella eke out a meager existence as nightclub performers. Enter Gib Cameron, ex-Marine and Secret Service agent, who has come to persuade the Arinelli sisters to return to his family’s historic Tennessee inn. Thirty years earlier, Venus’s parents were the first customers at Cameron Hall: They married there, and Venus was conceived on their wedding night. The tattered wedding picture of Venus’s parents is the only remnant of her pampered life as a Louisiana quasi-princess. At first she refuses Gib’s invitation’she despises his superpatriotic air—but then he reveals that he has money for her, left by her father. Once the sisters are in Tennessee, Ella succumbs to the hospitality heaped on them, while Venus keeps a cool distance from the sexy but brooding Gib. Meanwhile, the Camerons have their own troubles: When Gib and his brother Simon went to the sawmill to cut lumber for replacing the chapel floor, an argument led to a hideous accident--Simon was sawed in two by the blade and Gib’s right hand was cruelly maimed. Thus Cameron Hall closed while the family grieved. Cousin Emory now wants to turn it into a resort, while Gib hopes to reopen it as it once was. And all believe that Venus and Ella are the key to the future. . . . A highly improbable storyline, along with an incessant harping on family loyalty, will quickly tire all but romance diehards.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1998
ISBN: 0-553-11143-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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