Perfect Harmony

Barbara Wood, Author Little Brown and Company $23.45 (429p) ISBN 978-0-316-81653-3
Charlotte Lee's yin and yang are in precarious balance. Nearing 40, the heroine of this New Age thriller is torn between East and West. While proud of Harmony House, the Palm Springs herbal company she inherited from her grandmother, Perfect Harmony, she pines for the Britisher who was the love of her youth. Lee's yearnings come to a head when three deaths are attributed to herbal remedies made by Harmony House--and specifically to her. Who is trying to destroy her? The finger of suspicion points variously to her cousin, her family lawyer, an FDA agent and a psychic. Then old love Jonathan Sutherland, a hacker-turned-fed, shows up to save the day, and Charlotte's emotional balance is further imperiled. The flashback sections of the novel featuring the strong first-person voice of Perfect Harmony alternate with a perfunctory third-person narrative, and Wood's (The Dreaming) novel seems to mirror the split in Charlotte's own psyche: turn-of-the-century scenes of Singapore and San Francisco's Chinatown are sharply realized. Zoom in on the individuals in the mosaic, however, and the picture blurs. Although herbology and Chinese customers are beautifully detailed, descriptions of gee-whiz computer technology should have been cut to the bone. Ultimately, the Gordian knot of Charlotte's self is far more compelling to untangle than the mystery plot. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-446-60629-5
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