REGRETS ONLY by Sally Quinn
Kirkus Star


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Veteran journalist Quinn (Were Going To Make You A Star, 1975) tries her hand at fiction and comes up with a cumbersome, logorrheic Washington Novel concerning the life styles of the powerful and famous. Allison Sterling is a beautiful reporter for the Washington Daily, at the height of her career as ""the most famous woman journalist in America"" (""There wasn't a man in file newsroom who could touch her--personally or professionally. She was the best. She knew it. So did everyone else""). Seemingly the only man who can hold his own with her is Des Shaw, charismatic Washington Bureau Chief of the newsmagazine The Weekly; though he's been married for 25 years, he and Allison are a hot item. But when a new administration comes to town (led by President Roger Kimball, Allison's godfather), Des slowly becomes enamored of Sadie Grey, Southern honeysuckle and wife of Vice-President William ""Rosey"" Grey. When Des and Allison break up--for reasons having vaguely to do with Allison's career--he pursues Sadie in earnest. In the meantime, Kimball has an incapacitating stroke and Rosey Grey becomes President; Des is now cuckolding the leader of the Free World, and having a great time of it. But a piece of his hunky heart still belongs to Allison; when the two of them meet on assignment in the Mideast, they're drawn groaning together, but Allison (going through Des' pockets) finds out about his affair with Sadie and storms off. Sadie finally tells Rosey she wants out of the marriage, but Rosey convinces her to stay on, even after she realizes she's pregnant; in a cop-out ending she stands teary-eyed beside her husband on the platform at the convention in San Francisco as he accepts his party's nomination for his first full term as President. Half-listening to Rosey's platitudes about stable home and family life, she watches Des' face ""as anguish engulfed him,"" and he walks out of her life for good. An unexpectedly boring attempt at a popular novel, with a prose style that strains for effect (""She was vivid. She was clear. She was more than they expected"") and sometimes just plain strains (""Allison didn't know whether he knew she didn't know whom he was talking about""). Regrets are definitely in order.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster