Christina Bartolomeo,
Cupid and Diana
(Scribner, 1999)

Diana Campanella seems to have a charmed life. She's got a second-hand clothing store that she was able to quit her high-stress job for, even if it's not doing as well as it once did. She's still in Washington D.C., a city she loves, even if it does mean she's close to her family. She has a relationship with her family that may not be straight out of a Norman Rockwell picture, but stands up to hardship well. Even her boyfriend is a comforable fit -- the affable, if bland, attorney Phillip, who comes to her with a large trust fund and no aversion to marriage.

So, then ... why isn't she happy?

This is the central question plaguing her when she meets Harry at a friend's wedding, and the central question of Christina Bartolomeo's novel. The author does a good job of answering the question through a group of eclectic characters that, unfortunately, sometimes fall flat. The exception to this is Diana's sister, who, through her antics and characterization, carries most of the book.

Bartolomeo's plot is sometimes predictable and plodding, and the theme is one that's easily overdone. Girl has life, girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets life back on track anyway. It's Bartolomeo's use of intertwining subplots that saves the storyline from total disaster.

Overall, this book is a slow-moving, sometimes trite piece of literary fiction (the author asked it not to be released under the "romance" genre, where it likely would have been better received) with a typical and trendy theme. All evidence to the contrary aside, Cupid and Diana is worth a read if you need something with which to while away the hours, even if it's only for the sister's character. I would, however, advise waiting to check it out from the local library rather than wasting hard-earned money on a novel that will likely not be one of the reader's favorites.

[ by Elizabeth Badurina ]

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