cover image Morning Song

Morning Song

Karen Robards. Avon Books, $7.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-380-75888-3

Robards ( Tiger's Eye ) here transposes the tale of Cinderella to a cotton plantation in the antebellum South. Wicked, sexy Celia is cruel to Jessie, the spirited, late-blooming daughter of her deceased husband. The unlikely prince is Clive, a former riverboat gambler who marries Celia to gain control of her property. It is he who sees past Jessie's self-hatred to her inner beauty and who summons her deepest longings. Robards so effectively entangles the trio in plot complications that, ultimately, she must introduce a murder in order to clear a path for her so-called happy ending. Despite Robards's pains to legitimate the ardor between a young woman and her stepmother's husband, the unsavoriness of this theme is aggravated by protracted descriptions of Clive's drunken defloration of Jessie and his subsequent attempts to teach her the art of lovemaking. (Jan.)