Danielle 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
In All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque takes readers into the German trenches of World War I. By the time readers meet the novel’s 20-year-old narrator, Paul Baumer, and his friends, they are battle-hardened veterans.
All Quiet on the Western Front is not a pleasant novel, but it is a well-written one. There is a reflective, meditative tone to Paul’s narration that gives the story immediacy and humanity.
The events of the novel, graphic and horrible, are the events of war.
Soldiers bleed and die at the front, at aid stations, in hospitals.
Rats attack in packs.
Horses scream in agony, sending shivers down the spines of veterans who have watched unmoved as men died.
Worn out artillery kills the men it is supposed to protect.
All the while, safe at the rear, commanders make plans that send hundreds more to extinction.
A sniper’s bullet ends Paul’s life shortly before the armistice. But ironically the bullet saves Paul from what he most feared: the attempt to re-enter civilian life burdened by the memories of war.
As long as nations send their young people straight from schoolyards to combat zones, All Quiet on the Western Front will continue to be an important book.
All Quiet on the Western Front
By Erica Maria Remarque
Trans. A. W. Wheen
Little, Brown, 1929
1929 Bestseller #1
My grade: A
© 2009 Linda Gorton Aragoni