AMETHYST by Mary-Rose Hayes


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Three English boarding-school chums chase their dreams over 20 years and a number of continents, thanks to encouragement by a fourth member of the group--the blacksheep Victoria Raven, who sends out her self-fulfillment message via a Ouija board. This, Hayes' second novel (The Winter Women, 1987), is playful, commercially savvy, but wildly out of control as it careens to a close. Twyneham Abbey, June 1965, is the scene of the Ouija session, with oddball Victoria (bom in Sicily, daughter of an earl indicted for bludgeoning his wife to death) at the helm. Victoria and Ouija tell Catriona Scoresby that she will marry her beloved Sir Jonathan Wyndham, but that the happiness will cost. Redhaired Gwynneth Jones, a vicar's daughter, learns that she will make millions on her impeccable bones; and classy Jessica Hunter, a budding artist, hears that she must travel far before getting things right. What's more, says Ouija, 20 years hence ""You will be together again but you will be one less."" And. hey, presto, the next two decades bring the predicted developments: Cat's Jonathan tums out to be gay, leaving Cat to grin and get on with it by starting a posh hotel chain; Gwyn becomes a world-famous model, after a bout with anorexia; and Jess winds up in Mexico painting masterpieces. In fact, the only surprises that the 1985 reunion has in store have to do with Victoria herself--and her villainous, incestuous brother Tancredi. Lots of smart Krantz/Dailey/Collins strokes here, mixed with eccentricities that set this slightly apart--despite the cartoonish finale and a pat use of AIDS as punishment for the wicked Tancredi.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1989
Publisher: Dutton