After reading, and thoroughly enjoying Quinn's first book, The Ivy Chronicles, I was really looking forward to reading Wife In The Fast Lane, Quinn's second chick lit novel. It's the story of Christy Hayes, a gold medalist in the Olympics, who went on to start her own company manufacturing sports footwear. Christy marries a powerful CEO, and, when her housekeeper dies, Christy becomes mother to the woman's grandchild. As her life becomes more complicated, Christy is presented with a variety of challenging events that uproot her life and bring chaos to both her business interests and her marriage. How Christy deals with these various demands forms the basis for the rest of Quinn's story.
The one redeeming quality about this book was the child, Renata, Christy agrees to parent after the girl's grandmother dies. Renata's voice is presented through funny, thoughtful, and sometimes poignant diary entries. While Quinn puts Renata in some situations that aren't very credible, the girl still comes off as one of the only likable, sympathetic characters in this book.
The main problem with the rest of the book has to do with Christy. One the one hand, she's this brilliant CEO. On the other, she's dumber than a post when it comes to recognizing situations developing right under her nose. Quinn has a way of throwing so much demeaning adversity in the path of her heroines that it's hard to have any respect for them. At first this is just an annoyance. By half-way through the book it becomes a huge turn-off. Justice prevails, but by the time it does, it's almost anticlimactic.
Wife In The Fast Lane may appeal to die hard chick lit lovers, but I was expecting better from Quinn, and she did not deliver.
Genre: Chick Lit
Miracle by Danielle Steel
I don't understand how the people in Danielle Steel novels aren't constantly tripping over cracks in the pavement or running into furniture since most of the time they've got tears in their eyes. I've never read about such a weepy bunch of people anywhere else. Miracle illustrates this point to the max.
For the first 50 pages of this story, we are told that Quinn Thompson is little more than pond scum. He was a terrible husband married to a woman who qualified for sainthood, a horrible father, and an all around worthless human being. Steel hammers this point home relentlessly. His crime was that he spent most of his life building a business and amassing a huge fortune. But now his wife has died, his daughter barely speaks to him, and he's convinced he should be kicked out of the human race just on general principle, and also because he didn't spend enough time with his family while they were all younger. After the death of his wife, Quinn comes to realize how much of his life he wasted on material pursuits, but because of a terrible storm that does huge damage to his house, Quinn is about to become more self-aware.
I recently read an opinion of Danielle Steel's books that suggested even though her books aren't very good, what makes them work is that she believes wholeheartedly in what she writes. If that's the case, then Steel is probably one of the most delusional women to sit down at a word processing program and write a novel. There is absolutely nothing realistic about Miracle. It is written in short, declarative sentences that remind me of something an adolescent girl would write as a middle school English class assignment.
I would never have read this book had someone not given it to me. It's been years since I'd read anything by Steel, and it was disturbing to me how terrible her writing has become... I never thought it was very good, but now I'm tempted to call it abominable. I do not understand why anyone is still publishing her. Her work is an insult to women, and a downright laughable view on lives marred by tragedy.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction