cover image Let's Be Jolly

Let's Be Jolly

Janet Dailey, . . Zebra, $6.99 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-7919-4

Tissue-thin characterization, minimal backstories and a lack of sexual chemistry mar bestseller Dailey's latest, which consists of two rewritten romances, Bride of the Delta Queen (1978) and Northern Magic (1982). In Bride , Selena Merrick is mistaken for a high-priced prostitute by Chance Barkley, who later suspects her of scamming his wealthy Aunt Julia during a cruise on a Mississippi steamboat. Selena spends too much time fighting Chance's suspicions or angered by his coldness—though he is a great kisser. The secondary plot line involving Aunt Julia is pure cornpone. In the somewhat better Northern Magic , Shannon Hayes arrives in Anchorage on a flight from Houston, Tex., and is disappointed not to be met by her fiancé, Rick, who's preceded her to Alaska. When Shannon learns that Rick's supposed employer, bush pilot Cody Steele, never hired Rick, Cody and his fuss-budget father agree to help her find Rick. Shannon soon realizes that if they do, she'll need to choose between her fiancé and the enigmatic Cody. Only a brief epilogue set three months later relates to the book's Christmas theme. Agent, Richard Curtis. (Oct.)