VEGAS RICH is a multifaceted, dynamic novel filled with passionate individuals struggling to build families and empires.

Nineteen-year-old Sallie Coleman has done whatever was necessary to survive in the tough desert town of 1923 Las Vegas. Her luck takes a turn when she becomes the heir of eccentric miner Cotton Easter. Overnight, Sallie is the richest woman in Nevada.

Realizing her social limitations, Sallie arranges to hire a tutor from Boston. Brahmanite Philip Thornton does his best to teach his very willing pupil, and soon falls in love with her. While not in love with Philip, Sallie likes and admires him; she agrees to be his wife. Problems arise soon after the birth of their first son, Ash. After witnessing her own mother's obsession with her older brother Seth, Sallie vows never to allow herself to fall victim to the same heartbreak. As a result, it is Philip who loves and pampers Ash. When their second son, Simon, is born, Sallie loses her heart and he becomes her undisputed favorite.

With their parents clearly taking sides, Ash and Simon grow up resenting and nearly hating each other. Another woman is destined to come between them, and when Ash marries beautiful Fanny Logan he is incapable of being faithful to her.

Divided families seem to be the curse of the Colemans as well as the Thorntons, with the emotional battles continuing into the next generation. If any members of the family are to be truly happy, they must learn to make peace with themselves and each other.

(Mar., 528 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith