Here is the basic Steel formula: Wealthy and/or beautiful heroine triumphs over adversity only to be tested by more adversity, then is rewarded by new love, maybe a new fortune. So it goes in No Greater Love. Tall, slim Edwina Winfield is sailing back home to the U.S. from England with her indulgent parents, her five younger brothers and sisters and her bright, handsome, kind fiancé. Too bad the ship is the Titanic. Edwina's parents and fiancé perish, and the bereft 20-year-old decides that she will hold her siblings together, forsaking all others, forsaking any chance for happiness.
Steel's rendering of the sea disaster is not without its touching moments, but she is utterly incapable of leaving well enough alone. Of course, there is more adversity in store for Edwina: One brother goes to war, the family newspaper must be sold, one sister goes to Hollywood and almost to ruin. Those who doubt whether Edwina will triumph and find happiness once again, or at the very least contentment, have simply not been paying attention. (Delacorte, $28)