cover image Heiress


Janet Dailey. Little Brown and Company, $17.95 (477pp) ISBN 978-0-316-17092-5

In her 13th novel, Dailey (Santiago Blue polishes her popular style to a high sheen. Born into a wealthy Texas family, Abby Lawson grows up on the beautiful, sprawling ranch where her father Dean breeds Arabian horses; in California, her illegitimate sister Rachel aches for the father she rarely sees. After the two square off at Dean's funeral, Abby's initial anger turns to shock when she finds Rachel has inherited while she and her mother not only are saddled with debts but lose their home to the interloper, who marries well and promptly sets out to duplicate the life her half-sister has enjoyed all along. The bitterness between the two escalates yearly as they cross paths and swords, using husbands, lovers and children as ammunition in their war. Dailey doesn't hesitate to make full use of the cliches of the commercial fiction genre, but her wit, imagination and creation of a sardonic male romantic lead constitute solid entertainment. First serial to Cosmopolitan; Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild alternate. (June 10)