by Sandra Hill

July 1996
ISBN: 0-8439-4042-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

The year is 1996. Beautiful Sandra Selente, better known as Selene, was voted The Most Beautiful Face in America. But, Selene is tired, disillusioned, and more importantly STARVED! She’s all set to retire and begin studying at Columbia. This assignment for the Women of the Old South collection in New Orleans will be her last.

Selene feels a strange sense of belonging in New Orleans. Admittedly, she has a Gone With The Wind fixation (as her agent Georgia says) but bravely she embarks upon her “swan song.” Why, bravely? Selene has another big problem besides hunger. Lilith, a jealous model, at this very same shoot, has been issuing threats and wickedly claiming to have placed a voodoo curse on her. She has told Selene “she wouldn’t be around much longer.” And, as you’ve probably guessed . . .she isn’t.

After long hours under the lights, and waltzing around a ballroom, Selene notices Lilith holding a long hatpin pointed at the head of a wax figure dressed in a white gown. Suddenly, Selene feels dizzy, has a sharp pain in her head . . .then nothing. Upon awakening, Selene tries in vain to pull her low-cut gown over her exposed bosom, and hears the sound of a deep voice behind her asking, “why bother?” Darkly handsome, James Baptiste mistakes her for a Quadroon, looking for a “Protector.” Selene looks the part she realizes, with her professional perm, tan skin, dark contacts and generously exposed cleavage. But what she doesn’t immediately realize, is she has been whisked back in time to the year 1845.

So begins the wild, uncontrollable ride for Selene through the 19th century. Deeply suspicious, James, a Creole planter, reluctantly becomes her protector and soon-to-be lover. While traveling with James through the Louisiana swamps to his bayou plantation (no “Tara” by the way) Selene brings all the hysterically funny customs and quips of the 20th century with her. Including, dumb blonde jokes and aerobics for the ladies in residence. She also learns of Etienne, James’ precocious foul-mouthed son. We will meet Etienne again, all grown up in Sandra Hill’s Sweeter Savage Love, and learn more about Selene and James as well. Then another brief glimpse of them in Hill’s Desperado.

Before judging this book as too far-fetched. Ask yourself this? What do I expect to get out of it? If, you answered, “a few laughs, and a little transportation time on the fantasy express,” you answered correctly.

Perhaps I’m showing a little partiality to Sandra Hill’s books? You’re right, I am. They have literally changed my life. How could she do that you ask? She made me laugh again after the death of my mother. I owe her a lot.

This is exactly what you’ll get from Frankly, My Dear. Giggles, belly laughs, hot flashes, and of course the ooh la la’s her steamy love scenes inspire. Go on . . .go out and buy Frankly, My Dear, sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.

Reviewed in January 2004 by Janice.

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