Goldreich, whose other novels (Mothers, 1989, etc.) are chock-full of vacant, if nobly emoting, characters squashy with sentiment, offers more of the same in this tale about the deep friendship of four Manhattan-based women from the 1960's through 1983. Through the years, the four shoot into fame, fortune, and/or fulfilling career while locating love--and themselves--in history: ""[the beginning of the 60's] was our decade--the decade of youth and hope, the decade when we'd turn the world around."" (They tend to talk like that.) Among the four who gather for the first time--a time of shock--to hear reports of the assassination of JFK: Merle, the hostess, whose house was ""scented with wealth,"" whose husband, kind and loving, was nonetheless a heavy, domination-wise; Rutti, poverty-stricken wife of deteriorating Werner, both Holocaust victims; Nancy, whose handsome Israeli physician husband Dov, has no interest in her potential career; and Anne, who is determined to earn an M.D. The women will find liberation--Nancy through divorce, Merle through subterfuge, and, after Werner's sacrificial death in Israel, Rutti during widowhood. But it is Anne who will shock even her friends--with an abortion and then later a pregnancy, father unknown for some time. Rutti is an internationally famous artist; Merle is an internationally famous violinist and composer; Dr. Anne and psychologist Nancy also do well. New loves (and two husbands) appear; children mature; there are deaths and crises. And at the close, the quartet will weep together--in deathless friendship. High-minded corn, buttery smooth and irresistible to Goldreich's definitive readership.