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Who would have thought there was more to say about Cassie Steele, the heroine of Elmblad's All Manner of Riches ( 1987)? After all, at the end of that novel she'd married the man of her dreams (Dixon Steele, her ex-husband's older brother), become a top-flight divorce lawyer, and bought a farm in the northeast corner of Oklahoma (where her father had once been a sharecropper). In any event, Cassie now goes on, bringing two babes into the world, modernizing the farm, and practicing a little law in her spare time. Her imponderably awful father-in-law, James, gets his comeuppance when Cassie successfully prosecutes him for imposing ""involuntary servitude"" on a sharecropper; and Dix's campaign for Congress gets a lift--thanks to smiling Cassie, who, once in Washington, devotes herself to looking just as smarting as the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. Then, when Dix is assassinated, Cassie serves out his term--though not without child-care troubles and amazing foresight in the matter of her opposition to the Vietnam War, which tends to make LBJ hostile. On the personal side, Madame Congresswoman riffles through a number of available male Washingtonians before settling on fellow Oklahoman Mack Cameron, whose oil fortune somewhat compensates for the polyester suits be favors. This, unfortunately, is also pure polyester, with pancake-flat characters and a plot that devolves into a tiresome recital of 60's events. Elmblad, who showed that she could write feelingly in early sections of All Manner of Riches, here seems to have settled for a regurgitation of commercial fiction themes in an Okie setting.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Viking