Read of the Week

Silent Night

Danielle Steel

Pan MacMillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

The world’s most popular author probably has more dollars than she has fans and haters combined, and, after reading Silent Night, my first attempt at the record-breaking Danielle Steel’s books, I think I fall somewhere in between.

I am not a fan, and having got the try-it-at-least-once bug out of my system, I can also say I didn’t completely hate the book, but I don’t think I’ll read it, or another Danielle Steel novel, again.

Nevertheless, I have much respect for the author, who has the insane ability to churn out a best-seller a year and juggle several book ideas at a time. With such a production rate, there’s bound to be a few duds and gems in the mix, and I felt Silent Night also fell somewhere in between the extremes.

The book is about Whitney, a child of a movie star who has grown to hate the lifestyle associated with the red carpet.

Her sister, Paige, however, becomes addicted to it, and when her own screen career fails, she tries to fulfil her dreams through her child-star daughter, Emma, and succeeds. Emma becomes a household name while having what seems to be a thoroughly miserable childhood.

Tragedy strikes, and Whitney, who has sworn off the whole marriage – and children – thing, suddenly finds herself the sole caregiver of a brain-damaged, incoherent, possibly disabled and sometimes violent nine-year-old.

This first part of the book I found intriguing, despite the bland writing and punch-punch pace.

However, the rest of the book quickly became predictable as the story gave a painfully detailed, blow-by-blow account of Emma’s slow recovery, Whitney’s life-changing revelations about her unfounded fears and all the romance seeds started to bloom.

The end of the book was a surprise-less formulaic wrapping-up of quickly fading storylines, but here and there were
poignant musings on life and love that did surprise me because they went a bit deeper than the surface-level which the rest of the book operated at.

Silent Night didn’t rock my world, but I can also see why Danielle Steel is considered by some to be a good storyteller and
despite my cool-ish feelings about it, there was a line of colleagues waiting for me to finish the book so that they could read it