cover image Red


Erica Spindler, Erica Spindler. Mira Books, $4.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-042-4

With protagonists more pained than passionate, Spindler's narrative (Heaven Sent, A Winter's Rose) spins a Cinderella story of Becky Lynn Lee, who rises from the ``wrong side of the tracks'' in Mississippi to the pinnacle of Los Angeles's modeling world. Fascinated by fashion and desperate to leave her family's abusive, alcoholic home, 17-year-old Becky Lynn is thrilled when L.A. photographer Jack Gallagher hires her to be his assistant. Jack soon finds Becky Lynn both professionally indispensable and personally irresistible. But Jack is driven by a need to best his father, a famous Italian fashion photographer who has refused to acknowledge him, and succumbs to the lure of designer Garnet McCall. Shattered, Becky Lynn accepts an offer from Jack's hated half-brother, photographer Carlo Triani, to transform her into a star model. Reinvented as Valentine, Becky Lynn reaches the apex of model stardom but continues to be plagued by the psychological aftermath of abuse as she comes to care for Carlo, who is wrestling his own dark demons. While characters are sketched with depth and complexity, Spindler's workmanlike precision lacks the lusciousness readers will expect. (July)