Naked ambition causes a young woman to marry a man she doesn’t love in this romance novel set in Canada and Seattle spanning the years 1964-1980.
When we meet Meg Newport, she is a college senior with plans to earn a master’s degree in business. She’s a beautiful young woman, but a childhood accident has left her neck and chest disfigured by burn scarring. Nonetheless, she is engaged to Sam, the wealthy, kind man of her dreams. Unfortunately, Sam’s mother tells Meg that she will disinherit her son if Meg marries him. Meg sees only one choice: to abandon the relationship.
Meg throws herself into her job at a local hotel, part of a chain owned by the influential and wealthy Holt family, whose matriarch takes a special interest in Meg, offering her two things: reconstructive surgery and her only son in marriage. Meg knows, however, that marrying the irresponsible Blaine Holt will also mean she’ll have the career in hotel management that she wants so desperately.
What follows is, of course, the sad consequences of a bad bargain. The author skillfully portrays the dual character of Meg: on the one hand, a lonely girl who yearns for better than she has, and on the other, a calculating, ruthless businesswoman who will betray anyone who stands in the way of her ambitions.
The author succinctly takes us from one crisis to another over the course of 16 years. The story is devoid of a sense of place or the rhythm of everyday living that colors a book and draws readers in. There’s hardly a mention, for example, of what Meg does in her spare time; we see her mostly at work. The narrative is so compressed that a year seems to pass within a page or two, leaving the feeling that this is a rich outline more than fully fleshed novel.
That said, the plot is compelling, and female readers who don’t mind a straightforward recitation of events will likely be satisfied with the story.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.