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Modern-day Hollywood cutthroats merge with Boston Brahmins past and present in this engaging, richly textured, and virtually seamless family saga. Production designer and self-styled Los Angeles insider Zoe Hillyard is on the brink of her first really big movie, a daring period piece set in Boston in the 1890s and directed by the notoriously difficult Julian Frye. Zoe has also fallen in love, although Roger, an art dealer who's one hundred percent sure of his feelings for her, hasn't yet received the answer he's been waiting for: Zoe's a commitment-phobe with unresolved family issues galore. In fact, she hasn't spoken to her brother Arthur--who still lives back in Zoe's hometown of Boston--in over ten years; when her great-aunt Annabelle, who has been living with Arthur, suffers a fatal stroke, Zoe's cousin Claudia calls her and brings her back home for the first time in more than a decade. The reunion with Arthur proves more complicated than Zoe had foreseen, and she extends her visit under the pretense of helping him with funeral arrangements but with the actual goal of discovering the family she never knew firsthand, especially Augusta, her ""Grandm‚re"" and the famous Hillyard matriarch, who--although Zoe doesn't know it until almost too late--has left her two legacies that money could just never buy. By the time Arthur comes clean with what's been keeping him out nights, Claudia is satisfied with her efforts to reunite her cousins, and Zoe reveals her true feelings to Roger, The Gilded Affair--the film that was to be Zoe's big break--is in jeopardy . . . but rest assured that a dramatic resolution occurs, in fine Hollywood style. Interspersed entries from Augusta Hillyard's diaries serve as surprisingly effective counterpoint to the trials and tribulations of her troubled but eminently strong-willed great-grandchildren. In all, a promising debut.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0312304749
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Wyatt/St. Martin's