Like mother, like daughter, like granddaughter—the notion of history repeating itself functions as both plot frame and theme in Collins's latest novel, a multigenerational saga that spans a century of family triumphs and tragedies set against the backdrop of the ever-changing entertainment industry. Millie McClancey is just a naïve Irish lass when, having been compromised by a roguish nobleman, she takes to England's music hall stages, wowing London and New York. In the 1940s, Millie's illegitimate and far more sophisticated daughter, Vickie, becomes a Hollywood sensation. And Vickie's wild child, Lulu, becomes a supermodel in the '80s before turning to the soaps. Through it all, most of their misfortunes may be attributed to Patsy, an enemy Millie made in her youth, and Patsy's grudge-carrying descendants. Like overteased hairstyles and television programs about oil barons, this benign offering has a passé feel. Derivative of just about everything—Moll Flanders, The Godfather, Funny Girl, Valley of the Dolls—it even has Bugs Bunny gangsters ("Yeah, boss, yeah, good idea"). For readers who make it to the closing curtain of this sprawling camp extravaganza, the ultimate message—while years and fashions may be different, "nothing changes"—will come as no surprise. (Nov.)
Forecast:Appearances on the Today show, 20/20, Larry King Live and The View should help Collins cut her usual swath.
Release date: 11/01/2002