Sunday, May 20, 2012

E-reading: Book Review of Zoya by Danielle Steel

Name of Book: Zoya

Author: Danielle Steel

ISBN: 978-0-307-56706-2

Publisher: Dell

Type of book: Russia, 1917-1970s, America, history, multi generational family saga,

Year it was published: 1988

Summary:

Against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution and World War I Europe, Zoya, young cousin to the Tsar, flees St. Petersburg to Paris to find safety. Her entire world forever changed, she faces hard times and joins the Ballet Russe in Paris. And then, when life is kind to her, Zoya moves on to a new and glittering life in New York. The days of ease are all too brief as the Depression strikes, and she loses everything yet again. It is her career, and the man she meets in the course of it, which ultimately save her, as she rebuilds her life through the war years and beyond. And it is her family that comes to mean everything to her. From the roaring twenties to the 1980's, Zoya remains a rare and spirited woman whose legacy will live on.

Characters:

Very empty characters that don't match to the history. She probably created characters but never bothered to flesh out the souls. I couldn't relate or like any of the characters. We are told why we should like them and feel sorry for them, but it rings hollow. The character of Sasha, I'm willing to believe, is only included just so Zoya could try to be seen like a human being, which I know she's not.

Theme:

No idea what the message should have been.

Plot:

From Zoya's and everyone else's point of view. There isn't a story and most of the information focuses on the Mary Sue-ness of Zoya. There is endless constant repetition of the same words over and over, and ever so slightly the plot might move a little.

Author Information:

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[1] and 22 have been adapted for television."

Opinion:

I have no idea where to start. For one thing, while this novel was written just like the previous ones I have read, for some odd reason it didn't seem to annoy as others have. Her writing style is mediocre in my opinion, every single paragraph is either about Zoya's beauty or strength or how much the men she meets are all in love with her. There is nothing personal about the book which would cause to me to relate to Zoya. Also as well, I didn't appreciate the lack of realism when it came to Russian or Jewish characters in her book: my family lived in America since 1994, and even now my mother keeps saying how when she'll have grandchildren we will teach them Russian or other things. Few Russian people I know are the same way too, raising their children and keeping the culture with them. Jewish families are close knit, thus I should have expected for Simon's parents to visit Zoe frequently, and why didn't Danielle Steel mention the Jewish holidays that Simon celebrates or tries to celebrate with his family such as Chanukkah? Historically and culturally wise, she handled the novel very poorly. Why didn't Zoya ever confront the Red Scare of '50s and '20s? It would have been the right time to do it because she came from Paris and escaped from Russia before that. Why no segregation or struggle for Zoya that would have been realistic? The novel is empty and Danielle Steel simply uses trappings and not the souls attached to the trappings.

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.)

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