LOVE AND MONEY by Ruth Harris


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Harris's fifth novel is more grist for the TV movie mill: the stow of the parallel lives of two half sisters, Deedee Dahlen and Lana Bantry--""Sisters and strangers, heiress and orphan, Park Avenue debutante and drunkard's battered child."" Russell Dahlen is both girls' dad, heir to half of the Wall Street firm Dahlen and Lancome, but too lily-livered to acknowledge illegitimate Lana; so Deedee gets the best of everything, including marriage in the early 60s to Slash Steiner, a social arriviste from the Bronx whose stock-market wizardry earns the couple millions on top of millions, a manse in Southampton, and an Upper East Side triplex. Then Slash's roll on Wall Street ends, his young son drowns accidentally in the family pool, and Deedee tells her husband to get out--without passing go. He lands in Lana Bantry's arms, who fronts him for real-estate deals in Singapore, having made a bundle herself from a chain of beauty parlors and from manufacturing other state-of-the-art ideas like electric rollers and blow-driers. But when Russ Dahlen is murdered by Lana's drunken stepfather, the two sisters meet; ever the levelheaded one, Lana leaves Slash to Deedee, whom he's loved all along, and together they wrest the family firm away from a grasping Lancome chief executive. Character and plot inconsistencies abound, and the author treats the 60s setting as if it were ancient history. Still, she does have a way with the clever phrase, a knack for making slight matters seem weighty. Strictly bathtub reading, but complete with its own soap.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1988
Publisher: Random House