Danielle Steelathon IV – Star pub. 1989

What can I say, this book was a pleasure…exciting, gripping, well structured stuff that in parts was just so well written I felt like I was in the 1950s, on the ranch, watching my world collapse along with Crystal’s- the ‘Star’ of the title.

Opening just after the end of World War II, this is the story of Crystal and Spencer, two very different people who meet at Crystal’s sister’s wedding on the beautiful Californian ranch where Crystal grew up. Her life is one of simple pleasures, swimming naked in the stream, messing with her brother or avoiding the lustful glances of the ranch hands. She is stunningly beautiful (obviously)and pure and innocent at the same time (why would she be anything else?).

Spencer is ten years older that her. (This is the first rule of the Steel; the hero must be at least ten years older than the heroine. I have no idea why, maybe Steel subscribes to the view that men mature at a much slower rate than women, and therefore 19 year olds marrying 30 year olds makes perfect sense.)He is from a rich family from New York, the son of a judge, and is a guest of the groom, having been his commanding officer in the Pacific. Living a charmed life for much of his youth, this has changed dramatically since the death of his older brother and the subsequent transferal of family responsibilities. Suddenly he must be the Golden Child, train for the law and make the family name.

They meet and fall in love instantly, without exchanging a word. Now, as you know, this pisses me off royally, but I didn’t mind so much this time because I genuinely liked the characters. Crystal is a bit of a simpering tit, and Spencer a whining brat, but the general descriptions of the innocence of the period was so well put in place, and Crystal’s whole outlook on life made me feel a little bit fuzzy inside. Unlike, say, Sarah in Daddy, who seemed far too sensible to end up with such a knobend as Oliver, Crystal and Spencer seem genuinely made for each other.

Of course, their’s is a love that can never be, and they spend the next few years having totally different lives. Spencer gets a job on Wall Street, and is slowly seduced by Elizabeth Barkley, the attractive, clever, and cold daughter of a Supreme Court Justice. Crystal has less of a time, she is tormented by her sister and mother after the death of her loving and generous father. When she is 18 she is raped by her brother-in-law and the follow on from this had me wide eyed. One thing Steel knows how to do is shock, and shock well, and there are shocks a plenty throughout this book.

I really don’t want to tell you more, because, honestly, I’d recommend this. Not to everyone, certainly not to those who genuinely hate romantic fiction, but if it is your thing, or you’re willing to give it a go, then yeah, read it! The writing is cliche ridden and the ending is a little rushed, but its an interesting story that would make a great It’s Sunday, I’m Hungover, The Telly Is Too Far Away book.

Four down, ten to go…


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