The Legend of Lacy Black has an intriguing setting: an historical romance set in WWII- era America. Sadly, this story of a woman and the three different men in her life is more like a bad TV mini-series than a good romance.
Lucinda Blackburn is a seventeen-year-old beauty who lives in a small Texas town. To her staunchly religious father, she looks too much like her whore of a mother who left him when Lucinda was a baby. Everything she does is suspect, and she often takes the blame for misdeeds done by her sly half-sister, Ruth.
One day, a sports car with engine trouble pulls into her father's gas station. The occupants are Delores Divine, movie star, and Mark Damian, owner of Pinnacle Pictures. Delores and Mark are secretly married, but his attention to Lucinda infuriates Delores, so she quickly leaves town planning to get a quick divorce in Mexico. Mark stays until his car is repaired and just as he is leaving, Mr. Blackburn throws Lucinda out of the house for something Ruth did. Mark takes her with him to Hollywood.
Mark is a gambler, schemer, and womanizer. He only plans to keep Lucinda around for a while until he discovers that not only does she photograph quite beautifully, but she is also a natural actress. He renames her Lacy Black and realizes that she is the salvation of his company. He controls her every move and even stages their wedding as a publicity maker. Lacy stays with him, despite his horrendous treatment of her. When she meets another man whom she quickly decides she truly loves, she does not betray or leave Mark. Finally, Mark does something so horrendous, that Lacy has to disappear.
Lacy's confusion about life is truly a problem. All three of the men in her life are involved in her life and in some odd ways. When Mark's final betrayal leaves her alone, rather than go to the man she claims to love, she ends up with the third man. Her reasons for this are not very believable. Then, by a huge coincidence, the third man turns out to be a father figure to the "man she loves." Reading The Legend of Lacy Black is sort of like watching a train wreck. I knew that I really didn't want to see what was happening, but I couldn't keep myself from looking.
The historical aspects are handled better than the relationships. There are good descriptions of an air battle between English and German planes and of the Great Fire of 1947 in Bar Harbor, Maine. We get a glimpse of the workings of Hollywood and the star machines of the 30's & 40's. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt even appear.
Tory Houston is actually the writing team of author Constance O'Banyon and her attorney daughter, Pamela Monck. I applaud their choice of a time period, but the result was just not what I had hoped.
--B. Kathy Leitle