Lating Treasure

Julie Ellis, Author
Julie Ellis, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (446p) ISBN 978-0-399-13808-9
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Mass Market Paperbound - 474 pages - 978-0-515-11389-1
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This unconvincing saga stretches perilously thin in a seeming effort to touch all bases--historical, political and cultural--as it follows Viktoria Gunsburg's rise from penniless Russian refugee to top corporate executive. Having fled the 1917 revolution, 16-year-old Viktoria meets and marries Gary Barton, heir to a prospering Virginia tobacco business. She quickly adapts to American ways but, remembering the pogroms and obeying her bigoted father-in-law, she conceals her Jewish origins--a decision she will later deeply regret. In an otherwise cliched plot, the theme of maintaining a Jewish identity in an intolerant environment is well-developed. Vicky evolves into a shrewd, determined businesswoman who builds the tobacco company into a major national concern, bringing the quarrelsome Barton family enormous wealth. Alarmed at Vicky's growing concerns about cigarettes' link to cancer, however, her relatives plot to gain control, leading to an unbelievable and melodramatic conclusion of epic proportions. Ellis ( Trespassing Hearts ) attempts to shoehorn every major 20th-century event into the story, and as Vicky's children and grandchildren proliferate, fast-paced references to the Jazz Age, the Depression and WW II cause the decades to spin by in a superficial blur. Two-dimensional characters further weaken this diluted and essentially implausible tale. (June)
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