The Secret: 0

Cynthia Victor, Author
Cynthia Victor, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-94034-0
Reviewed on: 06/30/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-100-9
Paperback - 978-0-451-98493-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 350 pages - 978-0-451-18604-1
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Frumpy, insecure wife writes a book under her famous author husband's name; it's a smash. Where have we read this scenario before? Though the situation is similar to the plot of The First Wives Club, Victor (What Matters Most) rings some variations on the theme. Stephen Schaeffer, an internationally bestselling writer of commercial fiction, has deliberately hidden his identity because his superciliously intellectual parents, pretentious psychologists, look down their noses at such trash. Under the pseudonym Forrester, Stephen has earned millions, enabling him to buy a magnificent Manhattan apartment where Miranda and their three children live in comfort but not happiness. Miranda, who has always catered to handsome Stephen's selfish demands, has put on weight and is a dud at socializing with the glamour folks that Stephen now craves. So he decides to leave her. When he is presumed dead in a convenient terrorist attack, he quietly disappears, taking the money hidden in three secret accounts. Left nearly penniless, Miranda takes the first step in what will be her triumph and Stephen's comeuppance. As usual, Victor sketches characters with a broad hand, their behavior determined via plot device rather than psychology. Coincidences abound, and the ending stretches credibility. Yet Victor evokes the Schaeffers' three children with skill, a clear ear for their language and a feel for family interaction. Readers looking for pure escape fiction in which they can cheer for a woman who achieves revenge, a svelte figure, new love and lots of bucks will enjoy this tale. (July) FYI: Victor is the pseudonym of Cynthia Katz and Victoria Skurnick, who is executive editor of BOMC.
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