cover image Grand Passion

Grand Passion

Jayne Ann Krentz. Pocket Books, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-77870-5

In her first hardcover under her own name (she published Deception under the Amanda Quick name last year), bestselling romancer Krentz spins a glib, breezy tale about dashing art collector Max Fortune and earnest, fey innkeeper Cleopatra Robbins, secret author of an erotic book. Max comes to the Robbins' Nest Inn searching for five valuable paintings his dying employer claimed to have left there for him. Confused and charmed by open, nurturing Cleo, who denies any knowledge of the artworks, Max decides to stay and investigate further. He is soon part of the inn's eccentric family--cooks from a nearby women's commune, a lonely, fatherless little boy, a young couple struggling with an unplanned pregnancy--and he begins to act out with Cleo the fantasies in her book. When someone makes a death threat against the love-smitten innkeeper, Max hires a detective friend to find the culprit. After a dramatic crisis and pursuit of the villain, the expected romance ending arrives. Much of the humor here seems arch or forced, but overall this frothy fare will please Krentz's readers. Literary Guild alternate; Doubleday Book Club main selection. (Feb.)