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Heart of the Night    by Barbara Delinsky order for
Heart of the Night
by Barbara Delinsky
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (1988)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Savannah and Susan Smith are fraternal twins, born into old money but poles apart in nature. Rebelling against their father's rich, indolent lifestyle, Savannah chooses a career as a high-profile lawyer working in the Attorney General's office. Professionally, she's content, secure and a workaholic. On the other hand, her sister Susan lives as a society lady, sitting on various committees, and flitting from party to party. But to fill the emptiness in her life, Susan resorts to alcohol. Since childhood, everyone has always considered Savannah to be the smart one, and Susan the pretty one. As a result, they've each developed insecurities and harbor hidden resentment towards each other.

Megan is the twins' best friend, well used to acting the mediator between them. Her poor childhood has made financial security a high priority for Megan. Fortunately for her, she tumbles head over heels in love and marries Will Vandermeer, an older man who, like the twins, comes from old money. But now, financially, things are steadily going downhill for the Vandermeers and Megan is coming unglued with the fear of poverty. All three friends share one abiding interest - they've all been seduced by disc jockey Jared Snow's deep, soothing and sexy voice. All three regularly tune in to his program of late night country music, along with countless other women in Rhode Island.

Everything changes the day Megan is kidnapped and ransom is demanded. Instead of going to the police her image-conscious husband asks for help from Savannah in the Attorney General's office. Savannah, along with a few of her undercover colleagues, starts investigating and requests Susan's moral support. Soon Susan and undercover officer Sam are fighting like cats and dogs, but an attraction also builds. Meanwhile clues point Savannah towards Jared Snow and when they meet, things sizzle between them. Pretty soon they are all in emotional tangles. But what will happen to Megan? Will she be released safely?

Though Barbara Delinsky wrote this book in 1988, it is a timeless tale of love and sibling rivalry with a touch of mystery, as entertaining as ever. Ms. Delinsky has always excelled in character development and she surpassed herself in the twins, Savannah and Susan. Their complex relationship is examined from different angles and they appear very true to life. And in Jared Snow, the author has created the ultimate fantasy man, one whose mere voice makes women go weak in the knees. Secondary characters are equally well described and the emotional complexity of the whole plot is staggering.

The mystery is good, though not difficult to solve. And the second half of the book moves slowly; overall the pace drags a bit. However Heart of the Night is, all in all, greatly engrossing.

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