In brief: Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood, but when she starts writing thrillers everyone is astounded at her talent. But the world doesn’t know that Alexander Green is really Alexandra Winslow…
The good: Danielle Steel’s books are always an addictive read.
The not-so-good: Poor Alex is really put through the mill!
Why I chose it: Thank you to Pan Macmillan, who feed my Steel addiction.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Setting: USA and England
Rating: 9 out of 10
Sometimes you need a book that gets you out of daily life and focused on a character far away. Danielle Steel’s novels are the perfect antidote to a bad day for me; no matter how tired or fed up I am, I can always fully engage with the story. The plot is never too hard to follow nor is the language so complex that you have to read each line several times. They are just easy reads that transport you to a different place and people. Each story is full of over the top drama with the characters often having more than their fair share of hardship.
Alexandra Winslow, the protagonist of The Right Time is no exception. Before she even finishes high school, she’s lost both her parents and is living in a convent. She also has a scarily good talent for writing crime thrillers that freak out her teachers and some of the nuns. But Alex is determined to make it in what her father termed a man’s world – he told her that nobody would read thrillers written by a woman as they would be considered inferior. Alex hangs on to this one statement right through to signing an agent. She won’t publish under her own name, but the nom de plume Alexander Green. Naturally, Alexander Green is the crime world’s answer to J.K. Rowling and Alex is suddenly a very popular writer. Except that no-one knows just who she is – a young woman in college.
The story follows Alex through her life as Alexander Green becomes more and more popular, writing increasingly brilliant thrillers that capture the world by storm. Nearly every man Alex becomes involved with raves about how good Green is but is sceptical of Alex’s writing. They seem to think that all she is capable of writing is women’s fiction and it probably wouldn’t even be very good. This made me wonder if Alex’s story had an autobiographical tinge to it – she gets treated horribly from tutors who belittle her and mark down her work to jealous men who think she can’t even write. Yet Alex keeps it all secret, barely defending herself. It’s quite awkward to read and also made me wonder whether Green would have created if Alex’s father was still alive.
Danielle Steel certainly isn’t afraid to kill her darlings. Alex is put through the wringer many, many times by arrogant, selfish men. Then, of course when she seems finally settled, tragedy strikes. I couldn’t help but exclaim at this point that the poor girl needed a break! But of course, it’s all for the good of the plot and there is a happy ending.
I found the writing in The Right Time to be superior to the last Danielle Steel I read (The Duchess). That seemed stilted at times but The Right Time flows much better with dialogue that is more natural to read. Maybe it’s the modern setting, maybe I’m just getting used to her style. Whatever – I know that if I’m looking for a light, entertaining read that is bigger than life, I’ll turn to Danielle Steel happily.