cover image ABOUT FACE


Fern Michaels, . . Zebra, $7.99 (381pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-7020-7

There's enough melodrama in Michaels's newest offering (after No Place Like Home) to quench the thirst of soap opera devotees during a daytime drama drought, and the author's fans will likely lap up every word. At 17, Casey Edwards has experienced plenty of heartache and betrayal. Her mother, Evie, neglects her; her stepbrother, Ronnie, sexually abuses her; and her fiancé may leave her if she doesn't have sex with him. The day Casey finally fights back and stabs Ronnie in the leg, she miscarries his baby and comes to 10 years later in a mental hospital with no memory of her life before being admitted. Evie, now wealthy and married, greets Casey with little enthusiasm, as do the citizens of Sweetwater, Ga., and she can't help but wonder why. Slowly, she pieces together the lost details of her life with the help of Dr. Blake Hunter, a gorgeous family friend, but there are those who will do anything to keep her memories buried. Michaels's characterizations are far from subtle, and her plot consists of too many highs and lows with very little in between. However, her incisive descriptions of Southern life (and the mannerisms that separate the wealthy from the working masses) will impress, even if the conventional romance between Blake and Casey doesn't. (Apr.)