In my quest to find the best trashy book there is I often find myself salivating over eye-catching covers. Like this title by British author Vera Cowie (1987, Avon) whom I discovered while vacationing abroad. She was one of many authors I brought back home that day, and that cover alone just made me want to jump right in, especially with that blurb describing it as Dynasty-like. Sold, as they say! Though it took me a couple of years to finally get to it, I can now finally attest that, alas, as much as I wanted it to be Dynasty-like, in the end the content didn’t exactly match the drapes, if you know what I mean.
GAMES (called THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in the UK) is all about a gorgeous interior designer who marries a hot looking rich swinger who, we come to find out, has a scary mother fixation. This mother in question is a well-respected and well-feared socialite who, upon hearing of her son’s surprised wedding, schemes her way to destroy it and eventually does, big time I must add. Suffice to say, our talented but oh-so clueless when it comes to love heroine is soon left with a broken heart, not to mention a black and blue face after a major couple’s brawl.
Cut to a few years later when our gorgeous but now divorced interior designer is a mother. The father is of course her hot ex, whom, BTW, she’s still mad about (!) despite having learned that he has remarried (the bride handpicked by his mother, this time). Since he has no clue he is a daddy our gorgeous heroine tries her hardest to keep it that way to avoid any unfavorable confrontation. No can do, it seems. Upon a chance meeting in Hollywood where her career flourishes even more, they talk, he cracks, the child gets kidnapped, he confronts his controlling mom (she apparently knew about the child but kept it from him). The socialite mom croaks, so does his second wife in a silly murderous subplot and eventually they all live happily ever after: the hot swinger, the successful and gorgeous designer and their safe and sound perfect little daughter.
Perhaps I should have put a spoiler warning ahead but I figured, what the heck, live a little. Besides, I just couldn’t resist making fun of the whole thing. It’s not that it’s a bad book. The narrative, if bloated, is fairly competent but the story, boy, it’s like watching paint dry. The author loves to linger on beautiful things and descriptive dialogue (“I feel this, I feel that...”) to the point of making the reading experience almost cringe-worthy. But I do have to admit that when it’s good, it’s very good, especially when it involves Mommy Dearest. God, what a bitch she is. I loved everything about her. We need more characters like her in trashy novels. Just in better ones than this offering.
Until next post—Martin