cover image Ties That Bind

Ties That Bind

Brenda Jackson. St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30611-3

A sordid betrayal lies at the heart of Ties That Bind, a novel by Brenda Jackson (Family Reunion) spanning 35 years in the lives of two couples who become friends at Howard University in the 1960s. Randolph Fuller's wife, Angela, had to drug him to get him to sleep with her, but in the end she got her way: she became pregnant and forced Randolph to leave his true love, the modest, bookish Jenna. But 12 years later, Randolph and Angela are separated, Jenna conveniently widowed and the old lovers have an opportunity to start over. Jackson also follows the more sedate lives of Randolph's friends Noah and Leigh Wainwright and the various couplings of their offspring. In spite of all the action, the book offers a resounding moral: cheaters and sluts never prosper.