Danielle Steelathon XI – A Good Woman pub. 2008
I chose this one to read next especially because it was a historical one. Set after the sinking of the Titanic, the blurb promised ‘from the glitter of Manhatten ballrooms to the fires of the First World War’. ooooo, I though, this’ll be good…
And it would have been. This is the latest Danielle Steel my Grandma donated and I don’t know if she’s just been more in a hurry recently but the writing was so bland, co cliched and repetative, there were passages which I was convinced with copied and pasted. It was like reading a romantic Lauril K Hamilton, without the imagination.
The story was great; beautiful, clever New York heiress Annabelle is left greiving for her father and her brother after they are lost on the Great Ship, but this does not stop her from continuing her voluteer work on Ellis Island working with the recent immigrants to America. Her snobbish mother desperatly wants to marry her off (she’s 19 at the start of the book, so clearly its a desperate situation) and is over the moon when she agree to marry her best friend, Josiah, a very successful, much older ex-collegue of her father’s. Her life seems to be complete, until it turns out Josiah is gay, has been sleeping with his old college roomate on the sly, have sypallis and no longer wants to be married to Annabelle.
Now to be honest I saw this coming from the first, but it was handled sensitively and well, and if the writing hadn’t been so dross I would have been very impressed. Annabelle is disgraced by her divorce, but by this time the First World War (do you have to capitalise that? Not sure) has started and so she packs herself off to France to voluteer in a hospital there. Whilst working in the surgery she is talent spotted and some how ends up at med school. She then returns to the hospital this time as a doctor. She is then raped by an English officer, who impregnates her, has the child on the sly, returns to med school, is happy for a bit, moved to Paris after the war, starts her own medical practice, gets engadged, is dumped by her fiancee when she confesses all to him, finds the Evil Rapist’s mother and meets her and finds out he is dead, returns to New York, decides all her friends who dropped her after the divorce aren’t worth the effort and returns to Paris with her daughter, meeting a Suitable nice Man on the way.
And then I breathe out.
All of the last paragraph happens in about 100 pages, of a 350 page novel. Its ridiculous, you can’t skim read because you never know whats going to happen to her next. Its like watching an episode of Neighbours after missing it for a couple of weeks when your on holiday; all the characters are different, Harold Bishop is back, and Sky is pregnant.
Its such a shame this book is so shite, as it could have been a contender. Think I’ll stick to her late eighties/ early ninties classics for the last three…