Elements of Chance

Barbara Wilkins, Author McGraw-Hill/Contemporary $18.95 (419p) ISBN 978-0-8092-4318-1
The plot of this massive first novel has many familiar bestseller ingredients. Valerie, a beautiful gifted pianist, learns she's adopted when leaving California on a scholarship to study in London, where she meets vital, sexy, handsome Victor, some years older than she, who refuses to consummate their love until they wed. Obsessed by Victor, Valerie finds marriage to him is a whirlwind of jet-set life, riches beyond credibility and frequent, detailed sex. After Victor apparently dies in a plane crash, Valerie (who doesn't know how to call out for pizza) has to support herself, and becomes a rich and famous entrepreneur. Then, she discovers that Victor courted and married her knowing she was the child of his elder brother Raymond. When the two men who woo her are mysteriously killed and her son is kidnapped, Valerie is convinced Victor is behind it all and sets out to find him. The narrative gallops along, but the novel is all surface, tiresomely repetitious in detailed descriptions of ostentatiously expensive possessions. Wilkins is bound to do better next time if she leaves out the trimmings and sticks to the meat of the matter. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 560 pages - 978-0-06-100056-0
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