cover image Annie's Rainbow

Annie's Rainbow

Fern Michaels. Zebra Books, $6.99 (381pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-6173-1

Poor girl Annie Daisy Clark finds a bag containing half a million dollars. Even though she knows the money comes from a bank heist, she decides to use it, launching a successful coffee-shop franchise and getting her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, out of a bad nursing home. Annie becomes a savvy, hard-driving businesswoman, all the while seeking a little romance. When the man who first catches her eye--a handsome Hawaiian coffee grower--turns out to think that woman should happily take second place to men, she turns her attentions to a widowed ex-FBI man. But Annie has other things to worry about now: an insurance agent is obsessed with tracking down the missing cash, and the bank robber blames her for his long jail term. Annie is tough, and sometimes tough to like: she enjoys throwing around her power and wealth, but she is kind to those who maintain their loyalty to her. In the end, Michaels's latest (after Celebration) turns out to be a disappointing read in which secondary characters are for the most part one-dimensional. Annie wrestles with her conscience for too long, taking 15 years to return the stolen money, after both the romance and the suspense have long ceased to thrill. (Apr.)