Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel

Pages: 319
Bought this book
Published by Random House
Genre: Adult, Chick-lit

When Francesca Thayer and her husband, Todd, divorce, he wants to sell their art gallery as well as their charming house at 44 Charles St., and split the proceeds. Francesca can't bear to part with either. She talks her artist father into becoming a partner in the gallery, but that still leaves the problem of how to keep her home. Against the advice of her mother, Francesca decides to share her house with three other people. She chooses carefully: Eileen Flanders, a young, fresh-faced teacher; Chris Harley, a divorced father with shared custody of his little boy, Ian; and Marya Davis, a newly widowed, famous chef who doesn't want to live alone. It looks as though Francesca's problems are solved. However, Eileen isn't as innocent as she seems, and the men she meets on the Internet and brings home range from incredibly rude to physically abusive, shattering the peace of the new family. This book is classic Steel--lots of emotion, friendship, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and danger. Her countless fans are guaranteed to find it impossible to put down. 

Danielle Steel's "44 Charles Street" was supposed to be something interesting and spectacular. Instead it was cosy and predictable. These aren't necessarily bad traits for a book in the Chick-lit genre, but I found that these weren't the traits that appealed to me.

Seeing as the book was about a home or at least the symbolism of a home, I expected some great and lustrous descriptions about wallpaper or genuine door handles or something. I thought the book lacked great descriptions and that the writing style was very poorly. The reader spends a lot of time with the art gallery owner (Francesca) in the book, but sees no descriptive passages about artworks either.

Another thing that bothered me about the book is that it wasn't very exciting. There was no "wow" factor in the novel and everything felt like it dragged on. There was one problem after the next in the storyline instead of being one big problem like most novels have. A little unconventional, but not in a good way. I think again the writing style was a bit to blame for this. If the writing had not been so bleak I probably would have enjoyed the novel a lot more.

I did feel that the characters were all real and likeable. I think the story was a bit unlikely, but it was fiction... The characters and the compassion that Francesca has for each of them is the one thing that held the book together. It is nice to read a novel with a mother hen character. It makes it feel homely.

I think overall the book was alright. I give it three stars. The main issue I have with it is that it probably wasn't really my thing to begin with. It was nice to try out the author though and I'm sure my mother and sister would enjoy it more because it is right up their alley. I recommend this book to anyone who likes chick-lit literature, doesn't like to get bogged down by descriptions and who likes the midday movies.

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