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Those of you who read my reviews regularly will notice that I am consuming Sydney Sheldon's books at an alarming rate! This was the third book I got in the three for £5 offer at The Works (although, I feel obliged to warn you that there are more to come!).
It was another Sheldon classic, with his signature style and plot of a young and under-privileged woman who builds herself up from nothing and then risks losing it all over a couple of bad decisions, whilst travelling across the world at a ferocious speed! If, you are already a lover of Sydney Sheldon's books, 'The Stars Shine Down' won't disappoint.
Lara Cameron's mother died giving birth to her and was left in the care of her drunken father who believed there was no point in trying to improve life because fate had dealt him a sorry hand. Lara spent her entire youth trying to please her father to no avail and when he became ill, she took over his job as a rent collector to prevent the family from being made homeless. As it turned out, Lara was far better than her father at the job and she became interested in real estate and making more money.
When her father eventually died, there were no tears, instead just a steely determination from Lara to make something of herself. Following a series of events that would shape the woman she became, Lara moved to Chicago and then to New York, acquiring hotels, office blocks and other buildings until she became the richest and most powerful woman in what was definitely a man's world.
But obviously, as is the way with these things, her empire is suddenly on the verge of collapsing around her - is this one fight too many for Lara Cameron or will she stand up and fight for everything she has worked so hard for?
Sydney Sheldon has a remarkable ability to portray a believable female leading character and I would say that Lara Cameron is one of his finest examples. At different times in the book, you pity her, cheer for her, are frustrated with her and are happy for her. This is, no doubt, down to the skill of Sheldon's to portray a woman who has everything - one that you should envy and dislike - as a woman who has nothing - one that you pity and secretly support.
The story itself is face-paced and unputdownable. Just as you get to what you think is a break in the story, something happens that means you can't possibly finish there - be prepared to find yourself reading this one into the small hours, I certainly was!
My only criticism of the book is the somewhat hurried ending. The story seems to almost limp out at the end. Whilst this didn't impair my enjoyment of the book, it certainly wasn't the type of ending that befits a book that had you glued to it's pages for the last five or so hours!
'The Stars Shine Down' is another Sheldon classic. It's a great place to start if you've never read one of his books before and fans will love it as much as his others. It will have you silently cheering and slumping as you follow the heroine's story from rags to riches to . . . . ?