THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT by Susan Howatch

THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A mere eighteen years of English-speaking history get chewed up for scenery and props this time, but they're the choice years between 1922 and 1940 (drink! Crash! starve! War!), so The Rich Are Different comes out being longer than Penmarric, and all gall, and divided into six parts--just like Cashelmara. Only five narrators though, each one seizing a chunk of ""I""-time, except for London's Dinah Slade, who gets two for being such a good, sensuous girl--g & s enough to win the flinty heart of Paul Van Zale from New York, investment banker, closet epileptic, and married man. Dinah needs Paul's bucks to launch her cosmetic business and to save her ancestral home, Tara--sorry--Mallingham, and Paul needs Dinah to help him forget the daughter and son-in-law he drove to sorry ends. Oh, yes, they're compatible, Paul and Dinah, but this is a brief, 150-page interlude, with Paul returning to Mrs. Van Zale (""Sylvia: The Romantic"") and a skullduggerous death that clears the way for his heirs: ruthless Cornelius and reckless Steve. Business empire shenanigans ensue, followed by the welcome reappearance of Dinah, and Mallingham, and lust. ""This was my finest hour,"" Dinah concludes, in 1940, as Mallingham is sacrificed for honor. This may not be Susan Howatch's finest hour (no pre-Edwardian costumes to excuse what's stilted), but the immediacy in all those first-person deliveries can't be denied, what's supposed to grab grabs, and money makes money. Count on it.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Simon & Schuster