Saturday, December 25, 2010
Book Review of Jewels by Danielle Steel
Author Name: Danielle Steel
Publisher: Dell, Bantam Doubleday Dell
Type of Book: Adult, historical
Year it was published: June 1993
"On Sarah Whitfield's seventy-fifth birthday, memories take her back to New York in the 1930s. To a marriage that ends after a year, leaving Sarah shattered. A trip to Europe with her parents does little to raise her spirits, until she meets William, Duke of Whitfield. In time, despite her qualms, William insists on giving up his distant right to the British throne to make Sarah his duchess and his wife.
"On their honeymoon, the newlyweds buy an old French chateau, but not long after, the war begins. William joins the allied forces, leaving Sarah, their first child, an infant, and their second child on the way, in France. Sarah survives the terror of the Occupation, unwavering in her belief that her missing-in-action husband is still alive.
"After the war, as a gesture of goodwill, the Whitfields start buying jewels offered for sale by impoverished war survivors. The collection becomes the prestigious Whitfield's in Paris. Eventually, their jewelry business expands to London and Rome, as their family grows. Phillip, prideful and stubborn; Julian, charming and generous; Isabelle, rebellious and willful; and Xavier, the final unexpected gift of their love. They each will find their own way, but will be drawn to the great house of gems their parents built.
"In Jewels, Danielle Steel takes the reader through five eventful decades that include war, passion, and international intrigue. "
The characters tended to be on the flat side without changing at all. Sarah's eldest son, Phillip, still remained spiteful and hateful of his younger siblings and unfortunately nothing changed his mind about his brother in particular. Julian remained a playboy character and the audience is supposed to sympathize with him but the way he treated his ex wife destroyed any like or sympathy I had for him. Isabelle, the only girl in the family is the one that showed a change somewhat although her problem was resolved a little too quickly for my liking. The last child, Xavier, is barely known in the book and there is not much focus on him. Sarah and William remained themselves through the book and despite the World War II, children, the jewel shop, injuries, etc, little has changed with them.
Theme: I am not very good at extracting the reason why I think this novel was written, maybe so readers can appreciate jewelry, although the author bothered to remind everyone of the things from history that were popular. (Chanel No 5 for instance,) or perhaps another reason is that it meant to show the strength of a woman, (pretty much all her novels deal with that idea,) Sarah literally had gone through a heartbreak, being the first in the family to divorce, etc. but she still remained strong and did what she could for her family.
Plot: The first almost 75% of the book is spent on William and Sarah and very little is dealt with the family and then it switches to the kids' point of views, particularly on their marital problems. It would have been nice if business wise the characters would have made bad decisions once in a while, but instead in this instance every decision they make is correct.
From wikipedia: " Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel (born August 14, 1947, New York City) better known as Danielle Steel, is an American romantic novelist and author of mainstream dramas.
"Best known for drama novels, Steel has sold more than 800 million copies of her books (as of 2005) worldwide and is the eighth best selling writer of all time. Her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks and 22 have been adapted for television." Link.
Opinion: When comparing this book to the recent one I read, Star, it is much better written although her focus on what people thought of William and Sarah is irritating. (Everyone thought they were a good match.) Danielle Steel's writing has a strange addictive quality to it, although the plot is pretty unbelievable in more ways than one. (The soldier that takes care of Sarah and Phillip and Elizabeth, I doubt that in real life he would have been sent to France or even been noticed Fuhrer.) I am not saying that all Germans were inhuman killing machines, but I have doubts that someone like he could have existed. (The whole conversation of why war is wrong between Sarah and Joachim rang false to me.) Most leaders supported the spread of Germany, and were nationalistic at the time of World War II. If they had objections, I am pretty sure that they would be locked up or sent to concentration camps. (Yes, concentration camps were also for political prisoners as well.) The only ones that did protest were the ones that had to kill civilians or Jewish women and children. The second half of the book moved rather quickly and was contradictory. (One passage is that Sarah and Jane were no longer close, yet she contradicts by saying that they were close and wrote to one another. Also I would have liked more updates about Jane.) Overall, I thought it was a boring book although slightly better than Star. This takes place from 1930s-1992?
1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)