Wicked Pleasures

Penny Vincenzi. Overlook, $27.95 (640p) ISBN 978-1-59020-358-3

Sex, secrets, and long-term estate planning are the ties that bind three generations of a New York banking dynasty to their aristocratic English cousins in Vincenzi’s latest family saga. Resentment roils when financier Frederick Praeger selects as heirs both his grandson Freddy (son of Frederick’s son, Baby) and his granddaughter Charlotte (daughter of Baby’s sister, Virginia). Raised in Britain at the Caterham manse, Charlotte uncovers evidence of her mother’s extramarital activities, prompting her, brother Max, and sister Georgina, to find their biological fathers—much to the dismay of their supposed paterfamilias, the earl of Caterham. But what the siblings don’t realize is that uncovering past secrets means unraveling fortunes on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention threatening lives and one person’s sanity. Vincenzi (The Decision) has won multitudes of fans with narratives featuring well-off characters whose glamorous lives contain enough bedroom and boardroom action to support a miniseries. The secret to her success is the sympathy she creates for these privileged protagonists, thereby positioning herself as queen of the bonkbusters, even if the title promises more than it delivers. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Oct.)