A Good Woman, written by Danielle Steel

20 Jun

I purchased this book, which is a historical romance novel for my Mother in-law when she had her second knee replaced.  I wanted to get her something “easy” to read.  It isn’t a research or improvement type of reading book which is normally what we read.  Historical stories, quilting books, history of so many things, people and ways in which they have gone about setting up homes and lives.  This was just what we coin, easy reading.

I have never read Danielle Steel that I can remember and I found the book shallow at best in every turn the story made.  The book I purchased had a printing problem in that it went fine till you hit page 212, where it skipped back to page 117.  It repeats pages 117 through 164, where it picked back up in the story at page 261.  So I don’t know what happens between pages 213-260 as the book is simply missing these pages.

The ISBN is 978-0-440-24330-4, printed in 2009 as the Dell Mass Market Edition –avoid this version or at very least check any copy you may wish to purchase to see if it is missing these pages.  Certainly as this book was printed in 2009 the publisher and marketers have had ample time to remove these flawed books from the shelves.

The main character is Annabelle, and she remains a cliché from the moment her father and brother die on the Titanic.  Like so many of these books, she is written as if she is the most beautiful woman in the world and the author mentions this every chance she gets, you will find it hard to read 2 pages without it being mentioned which gets really annoying.  In addition to Annabelle and her perfect figure and beauty being mentioned so much, it seems Annabelle is also among the most intelligent and everything she does, she seemingly does better than everyone else on the planet.  Sadly her cognitive gifts are also mentioned every chance the author gets, or can think of to interject this fact into the story as well.  Did I mention Annabelle is perfect?  Her daughter is perfect, everyone that comes into contact with them think they are perfect?…………………..sigh

Lets see here, how many other clichés can we state?  Hmm, well she gets married young (big surprise), is the perfect wife and wants to be a doctor (which in the era of this book was more than taboo).  After two years of remaining a virgin bride, her husband announces that he is gay and his best friend (from childhood) is his lover.  She remained a virgin their entire marriage because well, women were not his flavor.  He announces shortly after her mother’s death (big surprise) that he was gay and he and his lover had contracted syphilis, need I say more death in poor Annabelle’s life?

She was rich beyond all measure, but chose to live a life of hard work with all her beauty, brains and money.  She becomes a doctor, gets raped, has a child out-of-wedlock as a result of the rape, falls in love, tells this new man the truth about “virgin wife” and “raped unwed mother” and of a gay husband with syphilis–he calls her a whore and her daughter a bastard and ends their engagement to be married.  Sadly, there were no moments which you could not calculate they were coming.  From the beginning of the book till the end, tragedy, death—but the most beautiful, rich and smartest woman in the world overcame it all.

While I would be excited to have nearly every book in my personal library to have a printing error as this would bring far more value to me to have a defunct book and a corrected book sitting side by side on the library shelves…..but this story simply didn’t do anything for me.  It was one cliché after another.  I felt no pain as I folded over page after page after page in the many breaks, days and weeks at a time that I took.  If this were one of my other books that were a good read, I would have babied it due to the printing mistake to hold its value, but sadly I didn’t care about this book….the story was far to shallow for me to care about it.  But when you pay $10 for a book, you read it from page to page….hoping something will redeem the money you spent on it through the story.  This book simply never redeemed itself for me and I still feel like it was money wasted.

Like the news where “sensationalism” seems to sell the most stories, it seems the author was using sensationalism to write the book–but it woefully lacked substance for me.  I know people can go through these hardships as my own life story would be written in one cliché after another.  So the sensationalism wasn’t hard to believe, but this book isn’t written about the true history of a person’s life, and was just too hard for me to swallow all of the sensationalism written into this book with so little story as a fictional story.

Even as an “easy read” type book, I can not recommend this book to others and give it a yawn factor of 8/10.  When we try to write stories based on the sensationalism that so many want to read and it sells more copies, it just becomes too much in a fictional novel.  This book is perhaps a great novel to study in college of what not to do, or how poor form for the sake of the sensational to try to sell copies becomes painful to read.

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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in The Library


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