Friends and Fortunes

Savannah Stewart, Author
Savannah Stewart, Author Diamond/Charter $4.5 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55773-456-3
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This shallow first novel goes for the glitz as it follows the lives of four women who met as students at UCLA's film school, but a hectic pace can't disguise the lack of character development. The easiest way to tell these women (not to mention their families and lovers) apart is by remembering that each has a different career. Kat Winter, actress and unmarried mother, makes her mark on stage and screen as she recovers from a destructive relationship. Driving ambition turns Prudence Daniels into a producer but wrecks both of her marriages before she learns there's more to life than bringing a film in under budget. Leah Sirk, daughter of a blacklisted writer, struggles against alcoholism and earns success as a screenwriter. And director Samantha Devane, estranged from her wealthy parents, finds meaning in her life by exploring the Africa her missionary grandparents loved years ago. Stewart gluts her tale with every disaster from rape and attempted murder to divorce and a bombing, and with every plot gambit from a mysterious benefactor to a hidden past. (Feb.)
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