Susan Sallis is the bestselling author of many novels including Choices, Come Rain or Shine, The Keys to the Garden, The Apple Barrel, Sea of Dreams, Time of Arrival, Five Farthings and The Pumpkin Coach. She was brought up in Gloucestershire and now lives in Clevedon, Somerset.
Set in England, France, and the United States, this is a melodramatic saga of four female friends whose lives are inextricably bound by common concerns. For the most part, three of the four major characters are rather shallow and annoying. If not for the intrigues involving Carol Woodford, her lover, and her family, the novel would be only a slightly better-than-average soap opera. But Sallis's work is fun to read because you never know what will happen next. Will Mrs. Woodford's adopted daughter discover the identity of her natural mother? Will Jean-Claude divorce Gaby and marry Carol? Will Myrtle toss philandering Malcolm into the street where he belongs? Will Monica sleep with her adopted brother again? While Sallis lacks the ear for natural dialog, and her overabundant Briticisms may confuse, the commercial appeal of this novel is undeniable. For all popular fiction collections.-- Bettie Alston Spivey, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, N.C.
Pleasure-seekers who aren't fussy about plausibility might be momentarily diverted by this tale of four English friends, women bound in an increasingly intricate web of relationships. On V.E. Day, teenage Monica tells her best friend, Carol, not only that she is adopted but that she is now pregnant with the child of her adoptive brother--all this within four pages. Sallis's speeded-up soap opera makes a heroine of Carol, whose mother adopts Monica's baby; a glamorous but hard woman of Monica; and quasi-husband-swappers of their friends Liv and Myrtle. This willingness to share babies and husbands is presumably praiseworthy but is rendered as far less than lifelike. Meanwhile, tragedy strikes often and in suitably dramatic international settings. One member of the quartet is killed off early on; her death creates a gap in the narrative for which Sallis tries to compensate by forcing the survivors into even more strenuous contortions. Eventually she overwhelms the innate and genuine appeal of her own protagonists, who virtually cry out to be rescued from this exaggerated plot. British writer Sallis is the author of Summer Visitors and YA books. (Jan.)