by Marcella Sanders

December 2001
ISBN: 1-58314-167-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Arabesque Books
Mass Market Paperback

Imagine soft tropical rhythms playing, a sun burning hot in a cloudless sky, and tall elegant cocktails with bits of fruit and fancy umbrellas on cafe tables shaded by waving palm trees! It's South Florida, where the people are gorgeous, the passion is hot, and this novel takes place. Actually, I can't help imagining all these things on a television screen, because Marcella Sanders has missed her ideal place in life - she should be in New York earning millions of dollars from daytime television! She has written the perfect script for the perfect soap opera!

Just see if you recognize all these characters: Riva and Lance Cain - beautiful couple only weeks away from finalizing a divorce that Lance doesn't want and Riva is ambivalent about... Cousin Therese, insatiable gossip, man hungry and single... Therese's Mom Udell, no-nonsense woman who wants Riva and Lance to get back together... Vanessa, curvaceous wanton who's managed to wangle her way into living at Lance Cain's house - she wants Lance too... Alicia, young bride-to-be of Riva's father Mason, strangely ignorant about her future husband, yet making him happy... Adam, Lance's friend and partner, too handsome for his own good, divorced, and a major lust target.... Phillip, annoying co-worker in Riva's company who keeps hitting on her for a date... need I go on?

Just about every emotional element is in play on these pages - the characters seem to stride from passion to anger to fear in the space of a paragraph (or a commercial?). This is not to say that this is a bad book - it's not! It's just so crammed full of people who are bursting with an assortment of issues that it is hard to keep focused on Riva and Lance who are clearly the hero and heroine of this story. And therein lies a plot problem - the divorce. Riva's reasons for leaving Lance are flimsy at best, but as we get to know Riva, we become less likely to believe that she'd let a love like theirs go! And the character of Lance is also not without problems - he's a great hero, but apparently didn't put up much of a battle for Riva when their first troubles appeared.

So if you'd like to see what the script for a daytime drama might look like if converted into a novel then this is the book for you. If you're only in the market for a romance, you might want to pick up a scorecard along with this story so that you can keep track of who's doing what to whom - it's fun but confusing, and would be enormously entertaining on TV instead of between the covers of a book. Networks, take note!!

Reviewed in February 2002 by Celia.

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