Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel

image of kaleidoscope on cover of Kaleidoscope novelDanielle Steel’s Kaleidoscope is a series of stories within stories.

The outer story is about the friendship of Sam Walker and Arthur Patterson who meet in the trenches in Italy in 1943.

Sam falls for a French woman, brings her to the States. While Sam becomes a famous actor, Solange cares for their three daughters, maintains a friendship with Arthur, and tries to ignore Sam’s philandering.

One night Sam murders Solange.

After his conviction for murder, Sam commits suicide.

Unable to adopt Sam’s daughters himself—his wife hated Sam and loathes all children—Arthur finds separate adoptive parents for the two younger girls, Alexandra and Megan.

Unable to find someone to take 9-year-old Hilary, he leaves her with Sam’s sister, a drunken slut married to a drunken lout in a waterfront slum near Boston.

Thirty years later, with only a few months to live, Arthur hires a private investigator to find the three girls and give them the opportunity to be reunited.

The PI finds them, which allows Steel to tell their stories, and effect a happy ending that’s as preposterous as the “confession” Hilary says led her father to kill her mother.

Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel
Delacorte Press. ©1987. 395 p.
1987 bestseller #3; my grade: C-

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

Parasites Tops Unappealing Novel with Appalling Title

The Parasites is matter-of-fact tale about “those horrible Delaney children” who grow into what the husband of one calls “parasites.”

The Delaneys’ parents were celebrities, she a dancer, he an opera singer. The children are half-siblings. Maria is his, Niall is hers, Celia the only legitimate child of theirs.

Maria becomes a successful actress. Niall settles for composing popular ditties better suited to his talents than the great music he yearns to write. Celia foregoes an art career to care for Papa.

When Maria marries the Honorable Charles Wyndham she makes sure dear Niall and dependable Celia are always around. Before long, relations between the conventional Charles and the Delaneys reach a crisis.

Daphne du Maurier has Celia narrate some of the story, occasionally referring to herself in the third person. Du Maurier gives other parts to an omniscient narrator.  Flashbacks add to the confusion.

The shifts make it hard to know  what is going on among the Delaneys, but if it’s what I suspect, I am just as glad I don’t know for sure.

The novel’s most serious flaw is the Delaneys themselves: Parasites are not appealing creatures.

The Parasites
by Daphne du Maurier
Doubleday, 1950
305 pages
1950 bestseller #6
My grade: C
©2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni