cover image Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold

Judith Michael. Poseidon, $22.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70704-0

Although this book's central message is a monumental platitude (``Money can't buy happiness,'' intones the protagonist), the point is made with clarity and considerable suspense. Claire Goddard is a hard-working, 35-year-old divorcee who has a close and loving relationship with her 17-year-old daughter Emma. When Claire wins $60 million in the lottery, they set out on their new life with sybaritic abandon: Claire quits her job, hires a money manager and begins buying luxury goods. But if they now have leisure and power, Claire and Emma also have too many choices. While on a cruise that is emblematic of their emotional displacement, the vulnerable women fall under the spell of an unscrupulous duo: Quentin Eiger, director of Eiger Cosmetics, and his son Brix. They are both immediately caught up in whirlwind relationships that are as self-destructive as they are sexually charged. The powerful and manipulative Eigers are much more sinister--and dangerous--than they appear. A cast of secondary characters (an enigmatic aunt; a perceptive writer; a lesbian friend) help both Emma and Claire reexamine their values. The husband-and-wife team of Judith Barnard and Michael Faine ( Sleeping Beauty ) has woven a contemporary tale that should please romance addicts, if not readers interested in stylish prose. 300,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections. (Oct.)