Windfall

Penny Vincenzi, Author . Overlook $26.95 (527p) ISBN 978-1-59020-247-0

The British have coined a term for the kind of novels Vincenzi writes: bonkbusters. Her most recent one to appear stateside is a prime example: fast-paced, well-written and full of sex. It's set in 1930s London, where the very rich drink champagne with Edward VIII and the Mountbattens, while the poor have too many babies, nonexistent health care and can only afford to follow the antics of their royal family on the radio. Cassia Tallow, trained as a doctor but playing wife and mother when we first meet her, inherits a fortune from her glamorous godmother. The windfall thrusts Cassia back into a world of high society, high fashion and old lovers. It also gives her the opportunity to go back to practicing medicine and ministering to working-class women, which her husband has prevented her from doing. But when Cassia begins to suspect that the money may not be rightfully hers, she goes to dangerous lengths to find the truth. Once again, Vincenzi delivers grade-A entertainment. (Oct.)