Nora Roberts





Berkley Trade, September 2003
Reviewed by Sissy Jacobson


In Private Scandals, Nora Roberts takes us behind the scenes of the glossy, glamorous, daytime television shows, to the sometimes dirty and dangerous on-the-scene assignments; from the smiling friendly faces on camera, to the backstabbing, infighting and manipulating backstage.

Deanna Reynolds, television journalist for CBC in Chicago, and Ivy League graduate, has those "girl next door," fresh faced looks, and personality to go with them. Willing to do any assignment she's asked, Deanna also does favors for her mentor, Angela Perkins, who is the number one rated daytime talk show host for the CBC network. Angela's show keeps the ratings up for the network, and in television, people live and breathe ratings and numbers. Angela, who controls her staff with an iron hand in a velvet glove, manipulates Deanna into doing some of her work, while Deanna naively thinks Angela is helping her improve her on air presence. Everyone knows Angela helps Angela and no one else

Beautiful Angela Perkins is nobody's fool. She trusts no one. Everyone is investigated so that she always has something to hold over anyone who gets in her way. Her past is a closely guarded secret, and she lives with the fear of it being uncovered one day.

Finn Riley, the handsome, roving journalist who has covered war zones around the world, is headed back to Chicago. Angela plans a big formal party for his return, to which only the top television brass is invited. They attend because they genuinely admire Finn's work and like him as a person. And also, they dare not turn down an invitation issued by Angela. After everyone leaves, Angela tries to take up where she and Finn left off, but he reminds her in no uncertain terms that he finished that before he left.

Finn and Deanna had met several times before and he always liked her. He begins to try to get closer to her, but Deanna has a secret that keeps her from getting too close to any man. She likes Finn but will not become involved with him or anyone else. When she starts getting love notes from a secret admirer, she thinks nothing of it. As the notes increase, then flowers start arriving, she and Finn realize she is being stalked. Whoever it is, knows her every move. The notes are non-threatening. They tell her how much they admire her, how beautiful she is, and then the writer begins to progress toward how much he loves her and will protect her.

When Angela gets a promotion to host a daytime show in New York City, she wants Deanna to come with her as personal assistant. After thinking it over, Deanna decides to stay in Chicago. No one turns Angela down and gets away with it. Meanwhile, the stalker is getting braver and braver, and Deanna and Finn draw closer and closer.

As usual, Nora Roberts' characters are well-drawn, three-dimensional people with personalities that are realistic. The action is exciting, and moves at an even pace keeping us turning the pages. Who is the stalker and what is he up to? What will Angela do to get back at Deanna for turning down her job offer? Angela is the perfect backstabbing, sneaky bitch; Deanna, for all her problems and all her success, remains the girl from Kansas. And naturally, Finn Riley is the hero to make your heart beat a little faster. PRIVATE SCANDALS is another wonderful read by Nora Roberts.

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