Delacorte, Nov 25 2008, $26.00
In Wrightstown, New England, twice widowed Mrs. Cassandra Wright (Ms. Is too trendy though using her maiden name is not) is the CEO of Wright Glassworks. A family tragedy forces Cassie to take in her relative, one years old Gwen. She raises Gwen as if she is her own daughter and the child thrives in the affluence of her surroundings.
Jewel Fairchild works as a receptionist at the Glassworks with ambition to marry wealth. Whereas the adult Gwen is at best plain looking; Jewel is vivaciously beautiful. Envious of Gwen, Jewel achieves her goal by marrying affluent businessman Jeff while Gwen settles on steady middle class worker Stan while coveting Jeff. When Stan uncovers questionable practices at his place of work owned by Jeff, they and their wives will be forced to confront their inner demons.
This contemporary comparative character study is fun to follow as readers will contrast Jewel with Gwen, and Stan with Jeff. Although Jewel is more of a caricature of the scheming gold-digger, Gwen a bit too introverted to carry the story line and the husbands two and half dimensional, the dynamic CROSSROADS relationships between the lead quartet make for an interesting drama for fans of Belva Plain.