TREASURES by Johanna Kingsley


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Kingsley's (Scents, Faces) first hard-cover--a long (560-page) romance that starts out powerfully but soon bogs down in a leaden tangle of plot. It's 1938, and Pietra Manzi--Italy's most famous courtesan, otherwise known as La Columba, or the Dove--has summoned her two sons to visit her at her Tuscany farmhouse. Stephano D'Angeli is a handsome, sensitive law clerk; brother Vittorio is a brutish fascist sympathizer. Fearing that Mussolini's Black Shirts are about to arrest her, Pietra gives the brothers a fortune in jewels to hide in a Swiss bank--on the condition that when each presents one half of an enameled perfume bottle, the treasure can be claimed. After the war, when Stephano goes to claim his share, he finds that Vittorio (who had joined forces with the Nazis) has disappeared with the entire lot. Then flash to New York, in the mid-60's, where Stephano, forever crashed by his brother's treachery, is living in HelPs Kitchen and working at menial jobs. However, his beautiful young daughter--also named Pietra--grows up to become a brilliant jewelry designer for the prestigious Tesori jewelry store, a firm owned by none other than Vittorio D'Angeli himself--suitably disguised with plastic surgery, and in dread of being found out for his misdeeds. Gradually, Pietra becomes aware of the story of her grandmother's lost treasure and, with the aid of Vittorio's own daughter, forces him at last to turn over the jewels--for an all-live-happily-ever-after close. Uneven and, after a promising start, uneventful.

Pub Date: July 16th, 1990
Publisher: Warner