More from the famed mistress of heartthrob (Mountain Laurel, 1990, etc.)—this time bogged down in 19th-century Scotland, where a host of silly, mostly unpleasant characters move sluggishly through a love story that never gets off the ground. Claire Willoughby, a big-bosomed American heiress, falls in love with mama's boy Harry Montgomery largely because he is blond and a titled duke. The dimwitted Harry wants Claire because she will inherit ten million dollars as soon as she weds a proper guy. Lusting for the dough—as well as the approval of his revolting mother, Eugenia—Harry whisks the buxom but bookish Claire, along with her childish parents and precocious sister ``Brat,'' to his Scottish castle, Bramley, where an odd bunch of family members roam in and out of dark passageways mumbling about horses and dogs. In this chilly atmosphere, Claire stumbles upon the cynical but sexy Trevelyan, who, she later learns, is her childhood hero, explorer Frank Baker, whose writings about the exotic and erotic have held her in a state of dire excitation all these years. Passion bubbles and festers, but there is so much mean-spirited jousting to and fro that by the time the two take the plunge no one cares. Finally, the highly emotional heiress grapples with a moral dilemma as it dawns on her that although she loves the lecherous Trevelyan, she must marry the boring Harry in order to secure her inheritance. The ever-so humdrum final twist reveals the real identity of Trevelyan/Baker, and leaves Harry right where he belongs—in the arms of the conniving little Brat. Fictional sludge.