cover image The Carousel

The Carousel

Belva Plain. Delacorte Press, $23.95 (342pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31107-6

Plain's latest family saga (after Daybreak) is an animated but less-than-profound story of child abuse, adultery and business dealings. Dismayed to discover that their five-year-old daughter, Tina, has been sexually abused, photojournalist Sally Grey and her decent, hardworking husband, Dan, face both family and business crises. With his illustrious uncle, Oliver Grey, and Oliver's two sons, Ian and Clive, Dan runs the worldwide corporation Grey's Foods from its upstate New York headquarters. Among the many who depend on the family-held firm for their livelihoods is Roxanne Finelli, who schemes to parlay her beauty and sexual prowess into fortune and happiness. After an affair with Ian--an attractive womanizer--sours, the practical Roxanne marries the sickly, spindly Clive. On the business front, Dan's California-based sister, Amanda, who owns a quarter of the controlling shares of Grey's Foods, demands her principal in order to fund a project for desperate girls, and Ian seeks to sell off Grey's woodlands for profit. To top it off, when Sally learns the identity of Tina's abuser, the resultant mayhem threatens to tear the firm and the family apart. Gliding swiftly along the surfaces of its shallow characters and events, this capably crafted--and appropriately titled--narrative provides plenty of forgettable entertainment. (May)