Regrets Only

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The glamorous world of Washington politics must be carefully negotiated by the beautiful, outspoken Sara Adabelle Grey, wife of the newly elected vice president. Sara, who lacks her husband’s ambition and never desired a life of prominence, inexplicably senses immediate hostility from Allison Sterling, an aggressive journalist who not only is beautiful and talented but also is the new president’s goddaughter. Caught between these two women is Desmond Shaw. Des lives with and loves Allison. When, however, she scoops him on a critical story, Des’s pride drives him from Allison into a potentially destructive relationship with Sara. Blind to everything but their passion, Des and Sara move toward a scandal that could threaten the presidency itself.

Quinn, who was for many years a White House reporter and who is married to the editor of the WASHINGTON POST, writes knowledgeably about the Washington press corps and the glittering social life of the capitol. Yet somehow the story never comes to life. Nothing about Des suggests he is overwhelmingly attractive to women; Allison seems only a caricature of a hard-boiled career woman; only Sara is believable as a passionate woman trapped in a role she neither sought nor desired. While occasional scenes ring true, the novel as a whole lacks vitality. REGRETS ONLY is neither a serious Washington political novel nor (unfortunately) the kind of titillating high-class trash that makes a good weekend read.