Fern Michaels, Author . Severn $27.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6166-5

Once the hallmark of macho fantasy, payback moves to the heart of modern romance in the spotty second installment of Michaels's Revenge of the Sisterhood series, as the heroines of Weekend Warriors regroup for mission number 2. Revenge is a dish best served with cloth napkins and floral centerpiece, according to the Sisterhood members: heiress Myra Rutledge; her adopted daughter, Nikki; Kathryn, the truck driver; Alexis, the African-American broker turned personal shopper; Julia, the plastic surgeon; Isabelle, the psychic; and Yoko, the nursery owner. It's vigilante justice for Julia this time: she's "contracted AIDS from her philandering senator husband." Frail Julia gets strength from her friends and guidance from Myra's lover, Charles, an ex-MI6 British operative and gourmet cook who plays a different kind of Charlie to Myra's Angels. ("Now, girls," says Myra, "let's devour this wonderful luncheon Charles has so wonderfully prepared so we can get to work and do what we do best: going after the scoundrels who have turned your worlds upside down.") Charles arranges invites to an exclusive Washington party where the gorgeous avengers kidnap the senator, but a good-looking assistant district attorney threatens to interfere with their plans (if only he and Nikki weren't out to right past wrongs, they could rekindle their old passion!). Michaels grinds out bestsellers by concocting videogenic plots filled with strong heroines and effortless costume changes. Her fast-paced, sentimental, occasionally silly novel puts poetic justice first; romance must wait for the next installment. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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