TRUE COLORS by Doris Mortman


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 This generational saga has the usual trappings--love affairs, power struggles, exotic settings, climbs to fame, devoted friends, vicious enemies, and murder. Mortman (The Wild Rose, 1991, etc.) tells the story of seven- year-old Isabelle de Luna, who sees her mother's rapist and murderer flee the crime scene, a suite at the Barcelona Ritz. Isabelle's devoted aristocrat father, Martin, is soon convicted, having received no help from his estranged in-laws, the Murillos, who never liked him. Martin's weak heart fails in prison, and a custody battle ensues between Isabelle's beloved aunt Flora and the Murillos. To spare Isabelle from her unkind grandparents, Flora ships her to family fiends, the Durans, in Santa Fe. The Durans raise her as their own alongside their adoptive daughter, Nina, in a small hacienda they run as a hotel. There's little money, but all are happy. The girls are yin and yang: blond, bold Nina has literary and theatrical aspirations; soft, brunette Isabelle will be an artist. The pair summer in Barcelona and frolic in the Southwest until Nina discovers the horrid truth: As an infant, she was found by the Durans in a dumpster. She will have no more to do with them or Isabelle (who was born in the back seat of a Rolls); she flees to New York, gets mixed up in a catty crowd of powermongers, and becomes a gossip columnist and TV personality. Isabelle moves to New York and quickly skyrockets to the top of the international art scene. With fame's perks come problems, including a possessive, dangerous gallery owner; Nina's tell-all biography of her sister; and true love, which Isabelle cannot embrace until she learns the identity of her mother's killer. Mortman's sweeping brush strokes are guided by formula, so don't worry: There's a climactic finale followed by a happy ending. The elements are exciting, but they are combined without innovation into a pallid blend. (Literary Guild selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-517-59262-2
Page count: 560pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


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