The Jewels of Tessa Kent

Judith Krantz, Author Crown Publishers $25.95 (404p) ISBN 978-0-609-60309-3
From a strand of understated Tiffany pearls, bought with Tessa Kent's first earnings as an actress, to the flash of honey-green emeralds slung around her neck by her Aussie mogul husband, Luke Blake, Tessa's gems are the tangible sign of her stardom and power over men. But Krantz (who justifiably claims that this novel ""beats with a bigger heart"" than her others, most recently Spring Collection) digs beneath the surfaces she unabashedly celebrates and comes up with a few metaphorical diamonds. Chief among them is Maggie, the daughter to whom Tessa gives birth at 14. (In keeping with the contemporary mandate to remind readers that no condomless sex is safe, conception occurs even though young football hero Mark O'Malley doesn't penetrate Tessa's hymen.) Tessa's mother, dour Agnes Hovath, satisfies both her Catholic faith and her ambitions for gorgeous Tessa by bringing up Maggie as her own. Luke is so obsessed with the jewel of Tessa's virginity (surgically restored postpartum) that Tessa does not dare to claim Maggie as her offspring even when her parents are killed in an accident shortly after Tessa and Luke's wedding, hosted by the Rainiers in Monaco. Five-year-old Maggie is raised grudgingly by Luke's ineffectual stepbrother, Tyler, and his money-hungry wife, Madison. Only their son, Barney, cares about Maggie. In one of the novel's best touches, Krantz adroitly charts the gradual progression of the tykes' friendship as it evolves into camaraderie, lust and married love. But it's the relationship between Tessa and Maggie that is the moral proving ground and plot driver of the story. For all the Hollywood dazzle, sexy shenanigans, bobbing balloons of good fortune punctured by the stab of mortality, this is a romance of motherhood in all its full if tarnished glory. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 672 pages - 978-0-7838-0267-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-41907-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-553-56137-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2309-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40417-7
Hardcover - 561 pages - 978-0-375-70421-5
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-307-80133-3
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-85750-162-2
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