TO FACE THE SUN by Frances Patton Statham

TO FACE THE SUN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Statham (On Wings of Fire, etc.) offers up another rather flat WW II romance-adventure, featuring an American nurse and a British peer-cum-espionage-agent. Nurse Fitzpatrick, general's daughter, serves on the hospital ship Good Hope in the ""deceptively tranquil waters of the Pacific."" She brings good cheer to the men who call her ""Sunny"" for this quality, and for her halo of bright blonde hair. Everyone falls in love with her, in fact, except the taciturn Britisher who is picked up floating on a raft off the coast of Singapore--Alex Ramsey, Marquess of Dalhousie. He was nearly killed smuggling a priceless family ruby out of India to aid the British war effort. Now, when Sunny cheerily treats his wounds, he scowls. And later, in Sydney, the conflict intensifies as sexual tension flares. Meanwhile, Sunny's mom, Kenna, and dad, Irish, fly back and forth across the Pacific doing their jobs and greeting family, including Sunny's brother, Jack, who nearly dies at sea. Sunny attracts the eye of such exotic types as the Queen of Tonga, and headhunter chief, Kelia, who covets her brightly-hued head (for its dollar worth). After many adventures, Sunny lands on Guadalcanal, where, ocincidentally, she finds prowling espionager Alex. What result are passionately steamy jungle love scenes. The pair is married by a renegade priest, but close to their moment of rescue from the island, Alex is killed. Sunny's father is, too. Sunny and Kenna grieve. Kenna meets someone else smashing, but for Sunny, it's too soon. A good thing. Alex turns up alive: he'd merely been a Japanese POW. Improbable. Sketchy in development. The opening gambit, with Alex peddling the ruby, is just plain silly. And sparse in dialogue, which may be fortunate, since it takes the form of summary (""Yes. You remember, we knew Dougie and his first wife, Louise, when they were stationed in Atlanta in i 925. He admired the way your dad ran the family mill""). Sometimes entertaining--but on the whole vapid.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Ballantine