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 From period-romance writer Blair (A World of Difference, 1989, etc.), an engaging contemporary story that tips its hat to politics, women's history, and feminism. When 12-year-old Kate Ballard's beautiful, feckless mother, Sydney, runs off with her own cousin, Kate vows never to let love wreak havoc in her life. She's rescued then by a fairy godmother (though sometimes witch) in the form of her maternal grandmother, Polly Benedict, imposing matriarch of a rich, powerful southern clan and mistress of the beautiful South Carolina estate, Kel Regis. Polly was so disgusted with her own daughter (for the wanton escapades of her youth, which included sex with her brother) that she ignored Kate for the first 14 years of her life. But after Sydney's defection, she finds in brilliant, bookish Kate a young life she hopes she can direct right into the White House. Kate warms to the imperious, meddling old woman, but is determined to follow her own destiny. She attends graduate school at Oxford, where she meets Win Talley, a handsome, charismatic young actor whose star is in the ascent. When the two marry, Polly is furious and Kate is exiled from Kel Regis. She puts her career on hold to help Win with his; gradually she realizes she needs work of her own and begins a book that is earmarked for the bestseller list. Her own TV show follows; the marriage breaks up; then Kate becomes a well-known feminist spokeswoman, has a couple of unsatisfactory romances, and is finally accepted back into the family fold. Through Polly's manipulations, she becomes president of her old alma mater, Wakefield College, where she'll endure some rocky times--but emerge triumphant. Interesting, full-bodied characters and an entertaining storyline: a modern romance with a reassuring, old-fashioned ending. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for August)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-553-08924-2
Page count: 486pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992