Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Secret Heiress - Judith Gould

The Secret Heiress
Judith Gould
New American Library


On her 21st birthday, Niki Papadaki plans to take over her father’s business. No small undertaking, since, in Niki’s case, that business is Papadaki Private Holding, Ltd (PPHL,) the largest privately held corporation in the world. She’ll be in charge of, and responsible for, interests and factories on several continents. Niki has been groomed for this since early childhood, but her hedonistic, partying ways and unpredictable behavior in business quickly begins to take a toll on the bottom line. In addition, some of her thoughtless decisions have angered a radical environmental group, who decide to ‘take out’ this particular executive.

The environmentalists are not alone in wanting a change in leadership from PPHL. The board of directors makes the decision to replace Niki with her twin sister, Ariadne. Ariadne was given up for adoption at birth, due to her father’s irrational belief that twin heiresses would be cursed. Ariadne, unaware of her heritage, has been raised by a foster family and brings a completely different outlook to the business, including concern for workers and the environment over pure profit. But if Ariadne inherits all of Niki’s wealth and power, she also inherits all the animosity felt toward Niki. That’s where bodyguard Matt comes in; to protect her from dangers, including assassination attempts. Ariadne and Matt quickly find that theirs will be more than a professional relationship.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘secret twin’ plot device. But here, it works beautifully. The personalities of the characters are a bit outsized, and there’s plenty of glitz and glamour. This novel reminded me a lot of the ‘mind candy’ works by Judith Krantz and Sidney Sheldon. That’s a good thing; those books are just plain fun. So it is here. Behind the glamour and high-stakes business, there are tangled loyalties, romance, betrayal, and intrigue. This book does exactly what it’s supposed to do: entertain.

Rating: 8
October 2006
ISBN# 0-451-21966-X (hardcover)


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