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"The Ring" is another fantastic Danielle Steel book which I have been lucky enough to come across. I am usually so weak hearted that I normally avoid any book which anything to do with war or war stories. I however, made the mistake of taking this one off the library shelf without reading the back cover. I have to admit that by the third paragraph of the book, I was regretting ever having taken it- but I still could not put it down. This is the sort of book which tells you some harsh realities without any pink lace or comforting cuddles. I must say that it also happens to be an incredibly addictive one!
The story basically takes place before, during and after the Second World War, with very very strong emphasis upon Nazi headquarters and genocide. Exactly the sort of book which I normally tend to avoid. But the striking aspect of this book is the fact that the main protagonist (Adrianna), is a German girl, and not Jewish. There are very few novels upon this same theme which try and depict the other side of the story, the way that even Germans suffered from this atrocious war. Moreover, between the lines, Danielle Steel shows how Adrianna, despite her various sufferings and tortures, still remains among the lucky ones- hence hinting at the ugliness of this particular war. I was particularly impressed by the description of the Fall of Berlin- as Danielle Steel goes on to describe the trauma of any post-war experience. I was sobbing by the time that Adriana had to cross from Germany to France on foot, and the way that she faints as soon as she crosses the border. However, I should admit that the plot becomes quite predictable by the end of the book, but is still heart-wrenching, heart-warming and gives a brilliant depiction of human relationships within the midst of all the ugliness and tragedy of the war.
Once again, what I admired with Danielle Steel was her realism, and realistic characters. The characters which were most striking to me, apart from the main protagonist, was the servant who turns in Adriana to the law, and the father who undergoes various hardship- ultimately facing death- in order to protect the family. These two characters do depict the whole message behind this novel: The war is so ugly that it is easier to lose than to win. The servant was so blinded by misconceptions and her twisted idea of loyalty to her country that she turned in the family who sheltered her for years. The father was the balance between patriotism and family and he braves death to save his son.
I would not recommend this book to you if you are looking for some light entertainment. As wonderful as this book is, it is heavy intense stuff. I could not sleep for two weeks after having read it, and this one of the rare books which I refused to read twice. However, if this sounds like the sort of story for you, then go ahead. This is an extremely memorable, extremely poignant read!