St Martin’s Griffin, $13.95, ISBN 0-312-30050-6
Contemporary Fiction, 2002
Popular TV correspondent Wes Reed died a hero – he died while trying to help a stranded woman by the roadside. Or so everyone believes. Only his wife Madison Reed, a popular talk show host widely said to be the next Oprah Winfrey (only twenty pounds lighter), knows that the woman was his husband’s mistress. Worse, she finds herself looking at her husband’s baby (the result of his affair with the mistress). What will she do?
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow just cannot wait to descend into predictable melodrama. The husband’s nice buddy (what is a nice buddy doing with a not so nice guy, you ask?) – meet Zachary Holman. He’s perfect, kind, nice, sensitive, a perfect rebound toy, but Maddy, oh she has to keep mourning in the public eye because she must think of the baby’s welfare now! Meanwhile, as Maddy moans and sobs herself into a self-pity mire, Wes’s parents want custody of the baby because they blame her for his death – rich parents are always evil, self-absorbed materialistic people, you know.
So here we have the usual Pure Weepy Hapless Heroine versus Bitch (Ex-)Mother-in-Law melodrama coupled with the Evil of Showbiz (it’s a dirty life clearly our pure and noble heroine is too good for, et cetera – I really wonder why so many authors persist in writing about showbiz only to have our heroine being victimized by that lifestyle). Whoa, that’s lots of material of a bad daytime TV melodrama, I must say.
Maddy is a rather pathetic creature who would’ve spent the entire book weeping and shrieking in some pity-me party nonsense if our too-patient hero hadn’t wined and dined her out of her passive funk. If she’s a stereotype, so is everyone else in this story. With not one character attaining anything more than one-dimensionality, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow may be readable but it’s a failure as a compelling drama. It just plods along the same and predictable path to a lacklustre happy ending, high on too many poor-little-innocent-victim-girl fantasies but rather low on originality. There’s a charm to this sort of blatantly derivative stories, just like how I find myself watching bad Jaclyn Smith TV movie reruns on afternoon TV, but there’s nothing much to savor after the last page has ended.