My Struggle With A Favorite Author

July 29, 2010

I have been a fan of Danielle Steel for years. I'm not ashamed to say so despite how others may feel about her work. Her books have been a source of great pleasure, adventure, and joy for me. I still remember the first book of hers I read. The Ring had been loaned to me by a lady I babysat for. I took it home and started it not sure what to expect. Well, I couldn't put the book down. For years, just about every book I read from her was the same way.

Danielle Steel's earlier works were so good- especially her historical fiction ones. The plots were in depth and believable. I found myself getting angry with the characters I didn't like and pulling for the ones I did. When she wrote a historical novel I was gone. The details she used, the way she wove the plot with the timeline was amazing to me. It never failed that I would walk away from them having learned something I didn't know prior to reading that book. For example, NONE of my history books or history teachers ever mentioned that the U.S. had camps set up here during WWII. While they were no where near as bad as those in Germany, they weren't places you wanted to go to. Still, I had never heard of them until I read her book Silent Honor.

For years I devoured her books with anxious anticipation for the next one. In between releases I tried to read as many of her older ones as I could. I can count only a few that I didn't love out of the dozens and dozens she had already written.

Still, as with many authors, Danielle Steel had her heyday. It's a rare thing when an author can write one phenomenal book after another. I think it's inevitable that eventually they'll put one out that just flat out sucks. And sadly, Danielle did this. (I don't want to dsiccuss her sorry excuse for a book called The Wedding. Whoever her editor was at the time needed to be fired and Danielle needed to redo that whole piece of crap.) During the 80's and early 90's she was a guaranteed bestseller. Whatever book she put out was going to land on the New York Times list and get to #1. However, as time passed, it took her longer to get there and she didn't hit the top spot as quickly- or at all- in some cases. The most heartbreaking part of this was that it wasn't just her sales that slipped. Her book quality did as well. Gone were the days when I knew I was in for a treat. Gone were the days that it was a given that I would buy her book when it came out and love it. Her writing was no longer in depth like it once was. In fact, a lot of her novels seemed to lose the "meat". Plots weren't as well thought out, or written. I no longer felt any connection to any of the characters. Some of them came off like she had no editor at all, which I later learned she does and works very closely with.

Danielle Steel is a very dedicated writer. She does thorough research for all her books. And when she does the actual writing, she's able to hole herself up in her little office and stay there til the book is finished. Sometimes, it's a weekend and sometimes it's longer. However, these days, some of her books read like they were written in a couple days. She is no longer the guarantee author she once was for me. I no longer rush to the bookstore and buy her books when they come out. No, I borrow them from the library first to see if it'll be worth the money I'd be spending. I'm saddened about this, but realistic too. When she writes a good book, she writes a GOOD book. But when she writes a crappy one, she writes a crappy one.


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read on July 30, 2010 at 3:06 AM said...

I've only read "Zoya" and "Star" by her and I liked them both, especially "Zoya", but somehow I never read any other of her novels. I was more of a Victoria Holt girl.

Yes, it's sad when authors you once loved start to lose their talent. I guess that Danielle Steel has probably just used up all of her best ideas, but maybe she can still come up with something good? I don't know. I'm sorry you sort of lost a favourite author.

Maybe Nicholas Sparks could be a good alternative for you. His writes about love and life and I think he's great. If you like Steel, I think you'd like Sparks.

Jen on July 30, 2010 at 4:08 PM said...

thanks for the comment. she does historical novels sooo well!! at least i have those to look forward to.

i used to love him! i just couldn't get over how depressing the vast majority of his books are. he writes stories very well, but i found them so sad and depressing. maybe one day i'll be a big fan of his again.

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