Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-06-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Women in peril who climb to the top of their game feature strongly in Hyland's second novel, as they did in her debut, Daughters of Fortune. This saga of country lass Franny Healy and her daughter, Cara, moves from Franny's native Ireland to London after WWII and on to the glitter of Hollywood, jumping decades and continents. When as a young girl Franny's big dreams are sidelined by her pregnancy, rather than marrying a willing local boy, she takes the leap and runs away to London's rough East End where she boards with Annie Connolly's family, gives birth to Cara, and turns a blind eye to her little girl's dedication to Annie's son, Danny, only 10 but already in with a local gang. When Franny is "discovered" performing at the Victory Club and given a ticket to Hollywood, she leaves Cara with her mother in Ireland and goes after her big chance. As starlet Frances Fitzgerald, Franny flirts with fame and fortune, eventually becoming the wife of a Hollywood mogul and descending into boredom and alcoholism. Meanwhile, Cara, hidden away in the Irish countryside, is sent to a cruel orphanage when her grandmother dies, eventually escaping back to London and into Danny's arms. But California with the shocking secrets of her mother's life and death beckons. Credibility is stretched, often beyond the breaking point, especially as Cara unearths her mother's past, and while Hyland's modern melodrama will engage some readers, it will definitely frustrate others. (Aug.)