cover image SAMMY'S HILL


Kristin Gore, . . Hyperion/Miramax, $23.95 (387pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-5219-6

This first novel by Al Gore's daughter is a fun, fast read, anchored by likable heroine Samantha Joyce, who spends her days toiling as domestic policy adviser to the noble Ohio senator Robert Gary, while neurotically carving out a social and romantic life. Just 26 and amazed that she's the senator's go-to girl on health policy, Samantha thinks she's gotten another lucky break when she meets Aaron Driver, speechwriter to Democratic presidential front-runner John Bramen. Aaron is "hot, and not just D.C. hot," and Samantha falls hard for him. Early on in their relationship, a Blackberry mishap—she mistakenly sends a message featuring whipped cream and video cameras to a list of important Washington players—gives Samantha her first taste of D.C. scandal, but it's soon eclipsed by politics and deception on a grand scale. As Gary goes up against backstabbing Bramen, eventually accepting the vice-presidential spot on Bramen's rival's ticket, Samantha learns of Aaron's epic infidelities. Samantha's whimsical asides and long-winded explication of political matters give the novel an awkward bulkiness, but her self-deprecating sense of humor and idealism will keep readers entertained. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (Sept.)

Forecast: Gore doesn't dish much dirt, but readers will have fun looking for parallels to real-life Washington and her dad's campaigns in this lively novel. 12-city author tour; film rights sold to Columbia Pictures.