HEARTS OF GLASS by Nicole Jeffords


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 Alcoholics Anonymous saves a marriage in this smoothly plotted soaper for the 90's. AA's philosophy, the feel of its smoke-filled, caffeine-fueled meetings, and various setbacks encountered by recovering alcoholics, are conscientiously conveyed in this story of a marriage in jeopardy. It begins as three wealthy women converge on an AA meeting on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Charlie (Charlotte) is an elegant ex-debutante married to Neil Gallagher, a Kennedyesque congressman with his eye on the Presidency; Musette is an irresistibly sexy model and actress; Gwen is a bestselling literary novelist. Each of the three, of course, hides a poisonous secret beneath her glamorous exterior. Unbeknownst to Charlie, Musette once had an affair with Neil and still carries a flamethrower of a torch for him. She gains Charlie's confidence, learns that she and Neil are separated, and resumes her torrid affair with the tormented Neil. The tension then builds as Charlie works at conquering her addiction, facing down her demons, and becoming a fit mother, while a wary but hopeful Neil watches her progress and searches his own soul from afar, and as Musette obsessively plans how to ``either go to the White House with [Neil] or ruin his chances by causing a big Hollywood scandal.'' The humming machine of a plot falters only when it addresses the complex matter of racial identity. Gwen's journey toward self- discovery, which plays out intermittently in the background, involves finding her place in the black community. Jeffords labors valiantly to do the subject justice, but her black characters are reduced more than once to giving speeches about African-American diversity or pride. Still, the timely setting, generous quota of fur coats and furtive sex, and happy endings for all make this tale of a trio of recovering alcoholics--well, an addictive read.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-517-58638-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992