Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Cassie Barrett, an anthropologist, marries handsome, talented, and rich movie star Alex Rivers. They enter upon a picture-perfect life until Alex get a bit reckless. He becomes a Mr. Hyde in all his ugliness and directs his rage toward Cassie with fist and foot. Typical of abusive husbands, he apologizes profusely afterward. Cassie soon finds that she is pregnant-against her husband's wishes-and realizes that she must find a way to protect the unborn child. One of her rescuers is William Flying Horse, a policeman from South Dakota with demons of his own. Picoult (Harvesting the Heart, LJ 10/15/93) writes with an all-knowing and piercing eye. Hers is an important book from a talented writer we hope to hear from again and again. For most popular collections. [Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.]-Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
This politically correct Hollywood romance leaves no plotting stone unturned. For her discovery of an ancient human relic, glamorous UCLA anthropologist Cassie Barrett is rocketed to the prominence of a '90s-style Margaret Mead. As if that's not enough, she goes to Kenya as technical consultant on a movie starring hunk-of-the-month Alex Rivers. After a whirlwind romance, Cassie becomes the new Mrs. Rivers, toast of filmdom's beautiful people. But all is not bliss for the newlyweds: Alex's tortured past just won't let go, and Cassie must bear the brunt of his emotional scars. Perhaps attempting to salvage the predictable plot, Picoult administers to Cassie's bland character a dose of adrenalin-pumping amnesia. She also throws in a dollop of Native American culture and a noble savage who skirts the periphery of Cassie's tumultuous existence, always ready with sage advice, spiritual healing techniques and warm embraces. Some rather prettily told Indian legends are added to the mix, but the total effect is wide of the mark. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; film rights to Dove Audio; audio rights to Brilliance. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
As in her last novel, Harvesting the Heart (1993), Picoult explores the dynamics and repercussions of intimate relationships, but she has made a bid for a wider audience with glamorous characters and a plot that, in less capable hands, would yield nothing more than a commercial romance. Alex Rivers is a handsome, sexy, and tormented movie star still fighting the fights of his miserable bayou childhood. He falls in love with a most unlikely mate, an anthropologist named Cassie Barrett, while on location in Tanzania. Alex sweeps modest Cassie off her sneaker-clad feet and they marry, but Mr. Sex Symbol turns out to be a wife beater. Cassie endures his rage and violence even after one particularly brutal beating causes her to miscarry, but when Alex goes after her during her second pregnancy, she runs away. There is, however, one complication--a blow to the head has brought on amnesia, and Cassie doesn't know who she is. Picoult manages to use this melodramatic flourish to fine effect as she ushers in the novel's hero, Will Flying Horse, a Sioux who rescues Cassie by bringing her to the South Dakota reservation he so eagerly escaped. Beneath the glitzy trappings, this is a riveting, unfailingly intelligent, and undeniably literary psychological drama. ~--Donna Seaman
Kirkus Book Review
Picoult's mediocre third novel (after Harvesting the Heart, 1993) features dysfunctional parents, an abusive spouse, romantic anthropological visits to Africa, and a healing encounter with sensitive Native Americans. Like the layers of earth she sifts through to find a piece of bone, protagonist Cassie Barrett, a noted anthropologist teaching at UCLA, must dig deep into her own past to understand just what happened before she lost her memory due to a blow on the head. Found wandering on Sunset Boulevard by Will Flying Horse, a recent LAPD recruit and South Dakota native who has fled life on the reservation, Cassie soon recalls her profession but has to be reminded by Alex Rivers, Hollywood's hottest property, that she's his wife. Alex, an Oscar nominee and soon-to-be winner, is stunningly handsome, talented, and messed-up--something Cassie has also forgotten. Cassie loves Alex passionately, she is sure of that, but both of them are haunted by horrible childhoods, which have made Cassie a lifelong rescuer and Alex a perpetual victim. When Cassie finally remembers why she lost her memory (Alex beat her savagely), she flees to South Dakota, where she imposes on Will's grandparents while she finds herself and awaits the baby she now remembers she is expecting. There, Cassie recalls her alcoholic parents, a murdered childhood friend, her romantic meeting with Alex on location in Africa, their exciting life together, and her continuing great love for her husband. She goes back to him after the baby is born, but Alex can't change, and Cassie can: She must hurt him so he can heal. A pretentious romance for the '90s that combines up-to-the- minute neuroses and Tinseltown glitz in a formula plot that ought to be foolproof but somehow isn't, despite patches of good writing. (Literary Guild selection)