cover image Harvest


Belva Plain. Delacorte Press, $21.95 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29926-8

With the rich threads of Evergreen , The Golden Cup and Tapestry , skillful storyteller Plain continues to weave her eventful saga of the Werners and their extended clan as they reaffirm their Jewish heritage during the stormy 1960s. Dark, sensitive Iris, daughter of the glowing, russet-haired Anna (by urbane banker Paul Werner--unbeknownst to Iris) is married to wealthy, improvident Dr. Theo Stern, whose European glamour excites other women. Iris's jealousy goads her to play at her own romance with a sinister partner. Her four children are growing up, but rebel Steve balks at his bar mitzvah, already anticipating the anarchist/bomb expert he will be at college, radicalized by cynical professor Tim Powers, whom he doesn't know is his distant cousin. When Paul's wife dies and his mistress leaves to fulfill her mission as a doctor in Israel, Paul hovers protectively over Iris's troubled family. A violent quarrel between Iris and Theo erupts into near tragedy, and Paul takes action. Plain's prose is never better than workmanlike, but the narrative moves quickly as her doughty characters surmount their alloted share of adversity. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; Reader's Digest Condensed Book. (Sept.)