cover image Tapestry


Belva Plain. Delacorte Press, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29630-4

Readers who have not previously met the Werners and Roths in The Golden Cup and Evergreen will sense something missing when they begin this continuing saga about these tightly knit, aristocratic German-Jewish families. This book contains multiple allusions to past events, yet the first-time reader can still become immediately involved in the narrative, thanks to Plain's adroit blending of complex personalities with a panoramic view of world events. The novel covers the early '20s until the end of World War II. Paterfamilias is Paul Werner, a high-minded banker, a dedicated philanthropist and a reluctant adulterer. His genteel wife Marion, unable to bear children, coolly retreats to her private circle of charitable events and card parties. Although Paul still broods over his first love, Anna, he turns to his exuberant cousin Leah, a flourishing business woman, for a brief, happy affair. It is at a large family gathering that long pent-up emotions explode, and past tragedies, infidelities and hostilities emerge with destructive force. Although there is a historical inevitability to the events viewed here (the 1920 ""Red scare''; Prohibition; the stock market crash; the rise of Hitler) the characters are never predictable. They act with passion and conviction, and their many vicissitudes will not disappoint Plain's fans. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (May)