Review: Sunset In St. Tropez (Danielle Steel)

I read my first Danielle Steel novel, Miracle, (review) a couple of months ago and surprised myself by liking it. No such luck with this book, though. I'm not writing a proper plot introduction here, but this description that I borrowed from the back cover of the book (and edited slightly) should be enough for the purposes of this review:

Spending New Year's eve together was a sacred tradition for Diana Morrison, her husband of 32 years, Eric, and their best friends, Pascale, John, Anne and Robert. The future looked rosy as the longtime friends sipped champagne and talked about traveling together to the South of France.

Just two weeks after New Year’s, tragedy strikes the heart of their close circle, as Robert Smith suffers a sudden, unexpected loss. Without hesitation, Diana and Eric, Pascale and John rally to his side, united in their support, love, and shared grief. Convinced that a change of scenery is just what Robert needs, they urge him to join them on the Riviera in August. But as they soon discover, the ramshackle old mansion they rented in St. Tropez--sight unseen--is far different from the exquisite villa and sun-drenched gardens touted in the brochure.

But the biggest surprise of all is the woman Robert invites to the villa as his guest--a lovely, much-younger and very beautiful film actress whom Diana and Pascale hate her on sight. But the men are dazzled. And amid the crumbling furniture and the glorious sunsets, the strained relationships and the acts of forgiveness, more surprises are in store for the villa’s occupants. With the last days of summer fast approaching, each couple finds themselves changing in unexpected ways, as old wounds are healed, new love discovered, and miracles unfold... all beneath the dazzling sun of St. Tropez.

There are such strong similarities between this book and Miracle that I just got tired of reading a book that sounds so much like another. Just look at how the two plots are built: man, aged around 60 -> woman, aged around 40 -> loss of a loved one -> caring friends -> a house by the sea -> ships/yachts -> romance -> live happily ever after.

The two books I just compared aren't exactly identical -- there are six main characters here instead of three, this one is set in France instead of California and there is a gorgeous actress here instead of a reclusive schoolteacher. Okay, I was being ironical about those differences... There can only be so many stories about a recently widowed older man falling for a younger woman as he comes to terms with his loss, but two such stories by the same author? NO WAY!

This book is readable but you can safely skip it, especially if you've already read Miracle. There are too many good books out there waiting to be read, and too little time to read two very similar books by an author who seems to be plagiarizing her own plot ideas.

Rating. 3/10


Aravind said...

This book is readable but you can safely skip it, especially if you've already read Miracle.
Haven't read Miracle, but after reading the review I have a feeling I won't read this one either.

Jaimie said...

She does become formulaic in her stories but some are charming. I used to read alot of her books.

Tejaswini Shenoy said...

For the record... most of her books sound alike...

All her books are about love found, broken trust, love lost, new love found and happily ever after...

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