By
July 19, 1982 12:00 PM

by Belva Plain

The time is the 1930s. On a tropical island a young girl, daughter of a grand family, is seduced by a mulatto woodcarver. Her grandfather sends her to France with a servant woman, who takes the baby as her own. The girl then marries a rich man and goes to live in New Jersey, where she has more children. The illegitimate son becomes the island’s prime minister; his half brother comes from New Jersey to live on his mother’s island estate. Will they learn that they, black and white, have the same mother? This is an old-fashioned romance except for the sex, and even rape is handled with discretion. Plain’s first two novels were bestsellers. This novel isn’t as good as Evergreen, but it’s more fun than the solemn Random Winds. It depends on a reader’s tolerance for such passages as: “Oh, this must be one of the most beautiful places on earth! Human pain was so piercingly incongruous here; to suffer in bleak deserts and on raw northern tundras was comprehensible, but not here in this soft air, under this white moon, with the grass so sweet.” (Delacorte, $15.95)

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