THE BIG GIRLS by Nancy Holmes


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At one point in this jet-set quarter-pounder, an emerald-and-diamond necklace tumbles into a plate of caviar--and that's just about the dramatic peak here, as Holmes follows three soggy but dough-coated Big Girls: Hawaiian-born Delphine Munro (""amber-colored hair and green-flecked eyes""); Camilla Stuart (British, with a body that ""looks both wild and virginal""); and Princess Alia, an exotic package sold and guided by her ever-anonymous, Turkish-truck-driver father. The three are together for the first time in 1954 on the yacht of avuncular, much-divorced George Sherrill; they're on their way to Istanbul for Alia's marriage to Prince Baraket, who transformed her from a harem nobody to an international Somebody--with help from Paris designer Balmain, tutors, and ""arrangements"" by Kenneth Bennett of the World Development Bank. En route, on George's luxury barge, Delphine falls for film director Ryan O'Roark, while Camilla is wondering if she should have married Lord Jeremy Kilmuir, heir to a newspaper fortune. (She didn't because she's had the hots for ex-rancher/actor Russ Marshall.) But, on land and after the nuptials, Delphine, grieving over Ryan's infidelity, marries Kenneth (she's at last ""seen down the long tunnel of life""); Alia, meanwhile, answers all of lordly Baraket's needs--although he indulges in harem hijinks and trouble comes when Alia befriends a nasty scandal shooter. (Baraket, thinking she's in love with an author, plays all sorts of nasty sado-erotic games.) Eventually, then, while Aha convinces B. that she's not just a ""piece of meat,"" Cam flops at wedlock with Jeremy, runs to fat and drugs--until the other two Big Girls set her on the right track. . .eventually to Russ, who is as independent as Cam. And, after Kenneth dies, the noble Big Girls--""Big girls think about others. Little girls are concerned with themselves""--take an anniversary 1973 sail with George. Designer sex, clothes, and enough jewels to sink the yacht: mindless, mostly joyless glitter.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday