Though Goodwin's romances are usually set in the past, they will often poke into the presentlike The Rising Storm (1993) and also this tale of 22 years of marital dustups, another family saga filled with chirrupy cocktail banter and posh digs. In England circa 1972, Eleanor (19) spends a satisfying night of lust with kind, gentlemanly, Foreign Office-bound Hugo, neighbor and brother of Eleanor's friend Agnes. The result, unfortunately, is that Eleanor ends up pregnant. Hugo is delighted and proposes immediately; Eleanor, not in love, thinks of abortion; while Agnes, in Paris, tries to help but fails, and Eleanor's sire, wealthy advertising magnate Walter, opens his wallet but not his heart. (Walter has been fairly rotten to Eleanor all her life because her mother, the beautiful, empty-headed Sara, left him and remarried.) Eventually, Eleanor gives in and marries Hugo. Then, five years later, he's transferred to BrazilGoodwin does a lively critical scan of the instant city Brasiliaand bored Eleanor, her daughter Joanna's care in the hands of loving servants, has a roaring love affair with a glittering Brazilian. She also tracks down her mother, married to a scary billionaire, ``still wanting love and missing the point,'' and still no mental giant. Meanwhile, Eleanor's affair is discovered, and Hugo furiously demands divorce. Back to London, divorce, a job, another marriage to attractive Sandy, an advertising hotshot, and a son, Paul. All of which make for happy days until Eleanor learns that Sandy has been bedding (among others) her best friend. So it's back to basics: divorce again, calm talks with Hugo, and grudging acceptance by his aging mother, a severe French countess who is now a devoted grandmother to Joanna and Paul in the decaying family mansion. A shade filmy, like most Goodwin romances, but with all the usual lilt and lift as chatty characters bumble along.