A PERFECT STRANGER
In a debut under this pen name, Robins (aka Alice Duncan) tells a tale of survival. The perfectly detailed backdrop of the early 20th century, the colorful portrait of San Francisco and the tragedy of the Titanic take center stage over the characters in this otherwise light, charming and entertaining story.
Three unsinkable women meet as a Titanic lifeboat is lowered into the water. They are the wealthy heiress Loretta Linden and Marjorie MacTavish and dancer Isobel Golightly (whose young daughter, Eunice, is with her). When they reach America the women travel to San Francisco, where Loretta plans to help them begin new lives.
Isobel cannot forget the man who gave up his place on the lifeboat for them. His handsome face haunts her dreams until fate reveals he survived. Scientist and horticulturalist Somerset Fitzroy comes back into Isobel's life during an encounter on the train headed west.
Somerset is pleasantly surprised to find Isobel headed for California, and he is determined to learn more about her and her precocious child. But Isobel wants to make it on her own. She finds a job dancing in the famed Fairchild Hotel and builds a career while dreaming of Somerset's kisses as fate steps in once more.
(Jul., 380 pp., $5.99)