Bantam, Jun 2003, 6.50, 384 pp.
In 1916 Paris, budding actress Liana Wycliffe falls in love with a World War I fighter pilot Ace after only meeting him ten days ago when they both attended two showings of Birth of a Nation. However, when they make love, he drops her claiming she is just another whore. Heartbroken because she loves him, Liana returns to the States to pursue a career in the budding new movie industry.
Four years later, director Spencer Sloane has had two successful movies, which has led to his receiving carte blanche control to film “Tehani of the South Seas” on location. To play the heroine of this controversial movie, he wants Liana, who he has not seen since Paris. When he finds her, she refuses to act in his movie until he forces her hand. When a scandal breaks out centering on her parents, Spencer insists she remain as the star. However, this is one location that could prove dangerous to the key cast and filmmakers, as powerful interest groups do not want this story told.
This is an engaging historical romance with a deep reminder that focuses on the mistreatment (some call it rape) of the South Sea island paradises by missionaries. The story line is loaded with action and deep characterizations. The audience will adore Liana, but Spencer carries too much baggage on top of what Liana contends with so that the audience sympathizes with him when he discusses the plight of the people, but not in his dysfunctional reactions to his beloved. Fans of deep early twentieth century tales will appreciate this strong powerhouse.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner