Gwen Wright has grown up in a world of privilege and opportunity as the adopted daughter of a powerful woman.
Jewel Fairbanks has grown up with nothing. From the moment they meet, beautiful, conniving Jewel envies Gwen, who seems to have everything Jewel wants. The two couldn't be more different, but their lives will soon become inextricably intertwined.
Both will marry - but to profoundly different men. For Gwen, it is honest, hardworking Stan who steals her heart; Jewel will set her sights on Jeff, a shrewd businessman who owns the company where Stan works.
But when Stan makes a shocking discovery on the job, relationships begin to shift and change and soon a tangled drama of greed, jealousy, and betrayal will encircle both couples, as a chain reaction of unexpected events changes four lives forever in ways they never could have foreseen.
Plain's tepid latest focuses on two women privileged but plain Gwen Wright and beautiful but poor Jewel Fairchild. Their lives occasionally intersect, and eventually Jewel marries a wealthy man and discovers that money can't buy happiness. Gwen, meanwhile, marries a poor but honest man but she still finds herself drawn to Jewel's husband, and the foursome is soon tangled in a web of deceit. Unfortunately, Jewel and Gwen don't evolve throughout the novel; Gwen is a character that some readers might find intolerably perfect smart, privileged, shy, well-spoken, with simple needs and a tragic past but any irritation that one might have with her is eliminated by the calculating and shallow Jewel, who is too pathetic to be a legitimate antagonist and too tragic to really be hated. It functions well as a simplistic morality tale.