|Review by Akshaya Srivastav, a student from DAV Hr. Sec. School, Gopalapuram, Chennai|
How I chose this book?
Torn between the desire to select between Nancy Drew series and Chetan Bhagat’s – “3 Mistakes of My Life” I found myself at crossroads. I couldn’t select Nancy Drew (for fear being ridiculed by my friends) and I certainly couldn’t select Chetan Bhagat either (out of fear of hearing audible gasp from my family). Cursing myself for the millionth time for being a teenager I ended up on the rack of “Sidney Sheldon”. I liked the alliteration (in the name) and I picked the glossiest book on the rack(purple with silver stars) not even bothering to know anything about the author. But I didn’t know that this book was about to change me…………
The central character of this amazing novel is Lara Cameron, a successful real estate developer. Born in Nova Scotia to a Scottish father who wished the moment she was born that she should be dead. Lara grows up to learn to fend herself and how to get her own way in the male dominated world. As years pass, Lara is seized to make it big in this world especially to prove her father that he was wrong about her. The “stars” move in her favor after her father’s death, Lara makes a deal with the owner of the boarding house, Sean MacAllister, to secure her first building in exchange for herself. Thrilled with her success she decides to step out of Nova Scotia to Chicago and leave behind the memories of her lowly roots and drunken father. There she is introduced to Howard Keller, who advises as to how to proceed in the male dominated world of real estates. Under his guidance she reconverts an old hotel into an ultra luxury hotel. And the rest as they say is history. She establishes into super successful real estate developer, a self made billionaire, Lara makes millions of dollars- a few enemies- in her ascent to the top. But things get a bit shady when Lara falls for the Mafia boss- Paul Martin (a mysterious, married lawyer) even against the words of her loyal friend, Howard Keller. But backed up with a crew of loving staffs, a loyal friend and a Mafia boss who was captivated by her- Lara Cameron reached the pinnacle of success. And now all she wants is ‘more’. Now Lara is America’s princess, the power behind the tallest building on the earth – she receives the name IRON BUTTERFLY.
But behind the alluringly beautiful and powerful woman is a bewitchingly innocent girl who is lonely. The author almost breaks our heart when Lara is shown as an insecure beauty who wants to meet the “Loch invar” of her dreams. And yet again the stars shine down on her when she meets the world renowned pianist, Philip Adler. Lara practically sets out for a dazzling global chase to ‘win’ her ‘love’ from London to New York, from Rome to Reno –to sweep him off his feet. And yes, she emerges successful once again and marries Philip Adler who offers her an exciting world but at a devastating prize. Things start going haywire when the stars shine against her favor. Then suddenly everything is at risk- her empire, her marriage, her fortune, her achievements, her marriage and the one whom she truly loved. Howard Keller, Lara’s mentor and longtime friend is torn between the loyalty to her and maintaining a terrifying secret, one that must never be revealed especially to Lara. Paul Martin is fared with two options- one of destroying her (for he thought she was his) or to finally let her go. Will Lara come out of this trap or would she be buried in the rubbles of her crumbling empire, hopes, dreams and love??? Or will her fathers words come true – “it’s the FATES! You can’t fight it!”
One of the shocking surprises to me was to know that Sidney Sheldon was the one with Y- Chromosome. I was so sure that it would be female author who had created such a powerful heroine- who was beautiful yet insecure, ruthless yet vulnerable. But I was happy to be proved wrong. Sidney Sheldon has created his most memorable, richly drawn heroine who was not only talented and capable, but most importantly retained her feminism.
Btu sometimes we feel that his character are flat and unsubstantial. Moreover the characters have an annoying tendency to speak in clichés like when Lara laments – “Someday…. I will have my own land, and no one – no one- will ever take it away from me.” Or when Howard says – “Someday she will love me like how I love her.” In the last few chapters we feel that he is ‘dallying the dillies’.
WHY WOULD I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?
Firstly, it is not everyday that a male author writes about such a bold heroine who is also an icon of glamour. On a personal note, after reading this power packed, sizzling tale with suspense filled plot I feel proud to be a girl and can vouch that in future my pride will grow as I grow into a bold woman.
The thing which struck me the most is that, the heroine is neither the perfect one nor the one who is forever swooning. She has her flaws. She plays gutsy gambles and her affair with Paul Martin sometimes makes us wonder and question the characteristics of a heroine. Her shades of grey and the manner in which she achieves high in business sometimes frightens the leader and we ask ourselves – Is she good or bad? Nevertheless Lara Cameron is a study of intriguing and beguiling contrasts. We tend to forget her flaws when she runs into Philips arms and says “This is where I belong!” and we are completely bowled over when just after a few minutes she exclaims- Philip, look at this. This is where my next building is going to be built. This is my plan….
But it all comes down to this- this book would be the most inspirational to all young girls. And as far all the boys out there it is a must- read since you will all get to know and appreciate the fact that – “Women are as deep as a sea, as hard as a diamond, as innocent as a child and finally as delicate as a feather.” And everyone will agree with me and come to the conclusion that even after centuries of studying women, they can still enchant, surprise and mesmerize, in a way that men can’t do without it!!!!
Review by Akshaya Srivastav, a student from DAV Hr. Sec. School, Gopalapuram, Chennai
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