cover image Shining Through

Shining Through

Susan Isaacs. HarperCollins Publishers, $18.95 (402pp) ISBN 978-0-06-015979-5

A truly compulsive read, Isaacs's fourth novel (after Almost Paradise) is a smooth blend of romantic fiction and spy thriller. Again demonstrating her unbeatable flair for down-to-earth dialogue, sassy, outspoken heroines and social nuances that convey character and period, Isaacs tells a Cinderella story with a contemporary twist. Linda Voss is a 31-year-old secretary to the dreamiest looking man on Wall Street, international lawyer John Berringer, with whom she is secretly and hopelessly in love: she is a poor girl from Queens, and he boasts an Ivy League background along with his perfect profile. When circumstances lead to their unlikely marriage, however, sexual fireworks keep them together. As World War II engulfs Europe, the Berringers move to Washington, where both become involved in undercover work for the COI, soon to become the OSS. Heartbreak, plus a feeling of kinship for the victims of Nazism, leads Linda, whose childhood was spent in a German-speaking household, to volunteer for a dangerous mission in Berlin. There, events tumble her into heroic action. Isaacs's depiction of daily life in wartime Germany rings with accurate detail, as does her picture of the American espionage organization and of the psychological orientation of the people who made up its ranks. She has hit her stride here with a book that has all the marks of a runaway bestseller. 300,000 copy first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; movie rights to Columbia; paperback rights to Ballantine; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections. (August)