Of Noble Birth

Snow Baby by Brenda Novak
(Harl. Super. #939, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-70939-0
One of the inside cover quotes states the following about Brenda Novak’s stories: “Real people. Real problems. Complex and genuine.” This may apply to other books, but Snow Baby is soap opera melodrama and has not a wit of realism as I know it.

Chantel Miller is driving to Tahoe to see her sister and hopefully end a ten-year separation. Ten years ago she went to New York and became a famous model, taking her sister’s fiancé with her. That relationship is over, and Chantel, who’s given up modeling, has moved back to California. What she isn't prepared for is a vicious snow storm or plowing into the car in front of her.

Dillon Broderick, on his way to a party, is royally irked at the tailgating driver who’s just rear-ended him. Yes, she’s a beauty, but so what? His car is still banged up. After exchanging information, Dillon drives on, but soon receives a call from Chantel, who’s hopelessly lost. It takes a while, but Dillon does rescue her.

They end up spending the night together and succumb to mutual lust. Chantel, who spent months in the hospital due to extreme anorexia, knows she’s incapable of getting pregnant, so Dillon doesn't use any protection. (See title.) The next morning they go their separate ways...Chantel to see her sister Stacy and Dillon to see the woman he’s been dating for two years, who just happens to be Chantel’s sister Stacy.

Well, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see where this is headed.

Stacy is Chantel’s only living relative, so Chantel is determined to mend fences. When she discovers that her sister is in love with Dillon, she backs off. She won't steal Stacy’s man a second time. She’s also deaf to Dillon’s vows that he’s never thought of Stacy as more than a friend.

Now let’s make the situation a bit more murky. The old boyfriend returns, trying to resurrect his relationship with Chantel. He’s bitter and has the maturity of a fifteen-year-old Lothario. He pits sister against sister and is such a lowlife that he tells Stacy that Chantel is pregnant...with Dillon’s baby. Here’s more murky dealings. Dillon’s ex-wife is a woman who chased anything in pants, so when Dillon sees the ex-boyfriend with Chantel, he begins to doubt that Chantel’s baby is really his.

Okay, two sisters who've loved the same two men...two men who prefer one sister over the other...a miracle pregnancy....an ex-wife who was promiscuous...multiple paternity questions...if this is anybody’s idea of real people and real problems, then I must be inhabiting an alternate universe, one where things like this do not happen with any regularity. Snow Baby just seems like one exaggerated contrivance after another, a sort of “What can go wrong will go wrong” plot.

The ex-boyfriend and Stacy are immature and conniving. Stacy lies and manipulates situations to her own advantage. Dillon is the only one who’s written with any realism, with his dignity intact as he ponders if his youngest daughter is really his and if he’s the father of Chantel’s baby.

Yes, I did feel sorry for both sisters, but with Stacy lying and Chantel denying her feelings for her child’s father due to her history with Stacy, this plot line just seems forced and superficial.

Snow Baby just left me feeling out in the cold.

--Linda Mowery

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