Disaster-busy romance and family tangles in 1930s Atlanta, viewed through cellophane characters. Rich Creag Trent (eyes of ""burnt sienna,"" cleft of chin) adores 38-year-old neighbor Stephanie Wexford. So when the newly widowed Steppie staggers outdoors in her flimsy nightie one cold night, Craig beds her (instant pregnancy!)--even though she seems to be in a druggy state of guilt over the death (murder?) of husband Neal. Meanwhile, Steppie's horrid teenage daughter Belline--secretly adopted 15 years back--also suspects Steppie of the murder, a suspicion which inspires her to indulge in all sorts of nastiness. And, as all this bumps along, a trio of Steppie's cousins are having their troubles in the background: doctor Julian's wife Carey has been blackmailing Belline's real mother; lawyer Reed, whose wife Anna Clare is tastefully honkers, lusts after her companion, sweet moonshiner's daughter Alpharetta (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Belline); and banker Axel has an unhealthy interest in the profitable properties of Alpharetta's Dad. Eventually, then, after Creag whisks Steppie to Mexico for their daughter's birth, there's an Atlanta trial. . . with one revelation per minute. The plot, in all its complexity, does move along--but the characters lack pizazz, and the flat period-setting is low on glamour-goodies: all in all, second-string romance/melodrama from the author of Phoenix Rising (p. 84).