Picks and Pans Review: Lovers

updated 04/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Judith Krantz

Okay, got a pencil? In Judith (Scruples) Krantz's eighth novel we meet Gigi Orsini, bright, beautiful daughter of film producer Vito Orsini, the former husband of Scruples heroine Billy Ikehorn. Gigi is living with director Zach Nevsky, who not only works for Vito but is the brother of her best friend, Sasha, who is soon to marry Vito and become...Get this: Gigi's stepmother. Along comes Ben Winthrop, Ikehorn's superrich cousin, who meets Gigi and makes her professional and personal offers it would be hard for any girl to refuse.

Will Gigi: (a) work out her obviously confused relationship with her father and best friend, (b) triumph in the advertising business by using her connections with Winthrop to outsmart her archrival Victoria Frost, herself the subject of a separate dysfunctional family-subplot, © realize that Winthrop—with his million-dollar gifts and stunning sexual prowess—is too good to be true?

Oh, what an obvious plot we weave. But then, who reads Krantz for the story? We read her instead for her delicious name dropping, her unapologetic rich-lady sensibility and her occasionally quirky notions. ("Did Heathcliff have a last name or was that his first name?" Sash Nevsky muses. "Joe Heathcliff? Heathcliff Jones?")

Even this otherwise mediocre Krantz work has enough of those elements to keep us reading. This summer, expect lots of Lovers at the beach. (Crown, $23)

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