cover image Aspen Gold

Aspen Gold

Janet Dailey. Little, Brown and Company Inc, $19.95 (364pp) ISBN 978-0-316-17146-5

Lethargic and entirely predictable, this latest romance from the author of Masquerade finds aspiring actress Kit Masters returning to her ranch, Silverwood, and to her hometown of Aspen, Colo., to film a movie that should not only make her a superstar but also boost the flagging career of suave leading man John Travis. The planeload of exotic Hollywood filmmakers does little to excite the cynical locals, already sated with celebrities and their antics. For Kit, the return home is fraught with emotional turmoil. She must confront the sweetheart of her youth, wholesome rancher Tom Bannon, who jilted her for a short-lived marriage, and she will ultimately be forced to make a choice between Bannon and Travis, who is now courting her with diligence and passion. Kit is also tempted to sell Silverwood for a staggering amount of money, cash she desperately needs to keep her ailing mother in a nursing home. The sale is to be handled by aggressive and bitter realtor Sondra Hudson, who has determined to snare the remarkably unobservant Bannon for herself. The novel is heavily burdened by its pallid romantic entanglements, stereotypical characters and unrelieved melodrama. Only her lyrical paeans to the beauties of Colorado jolt Dailey's prose out of its sluggishness. (Apr.)