REMEMBER THE MORNING

The travails of a colonial Scarlett O'Hara, her free black friend, and the man they both love, by the prolific Fleming (Loyalties, 1994; Over There, 1992, etc.). As children, Catalyntie, who is Dutch and white, and Clara, a family slave, are captured by the Seneca and adopted into Indian families. As they approach adulthood, kindly and beautiful Clara is much pursued by the tribe's aspiring warriors, while Catalyntie, known as Moonwoman for her pale skin, is considered scrawny and ugly. Nevertheless, the two are devoted friends. When, in a prisoner exchange, the girls are returned to colonial society, Catalyntie discovers their roles are reversed: Now it's Catalyntie who's the sought-after beauty, while Clara is expected to serve her. As Catalyntie, who's not yet old enough to inherit her grandfather's estate, schemes to buy Clara's freedom, Clara is sent to work for neighbors. There, she begins an affair with strapping Malcolm Stapleton, her mistress's stepson, that ends tragically after Clara becomes pregnant and is forced to undergo a brutal abortion. Finally, Catalyntie manages to free her friend, but, having been jilted by a fortune-hunting rouÇ, she's become willful and selfish. As she realizes her own attraction to Malcolm, she and Clara become rivals, even as they go on a harrowing fur-trading expedition together and form a partnership as shopkeepers. Catalyntie then manages to trick Malcolm into marriage, Clara takes up with an ambitious slave who's both a thief and a revolutionary, Malcolm gets in touch with his Scottish roots, and Catalyntie goes to Amsterdam, where she becomes the talk of the town—all leading ultimately to scenes first of acrimony, then weepy reconciliation. Plausibility goes out the window within the first few pages, making room for Fleming to conjure up a rollicking moral melodrama with an intriguing pair of heroines.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-86308-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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