Zebra, Aug 2002, 5.99, 315 pp.
Helen and Walter Chamberlain raised their niece Alexandra after the deaths of the girl's parents. Unlike her parents, her guardians taught Alex that one must always be professional and work harder than anyone else does if they are to succeed. Alex adheres to that guidance as she kills herself in order to make her uncle proud of her accomplishments while working for his company, developers of luxury resorts.
Alex is investigating Restalline, Pennsylvania as the possible next sight of a WEC Management development property. She must buy land, but a key player Dr. Nick Androvich, who recently returned home a widow with an eight-year-old son, rejects her development project. As Alex and Nick argue over progress they fall in love leading to the dilemma of deciding between a chance for a lifetime of happiness and her life's goal to please her uncle.
SIMPLE RICHES is a simplistic contemporary romance that stays on the critical path of the interesting story line, which makes for a deep look at a character struggling with opposite pulls. Alex is the novel as she internally battles between her duty to her family, business, and a lifetime of lessons vs. her love for Nick, his child, and the townsfolk. The secondary cast is a strong group that includes Nick who though obviously important and in most scenes is an impetus to the emotional turmoil of the heroine. This is a strong tale by a powerful author who keeps the plot uncomplicated yet lucid and engaging.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner