This is another one of my favourite books. To many, Danielle Steel is a candy floss author who writes romantic novels, which are all too similar in their plot with lots of cliches and lacking substance. But to a young girl of 15-16years, her novels are very interesting , with their strong female characters who go through so many difficulties in their lives to finally attain happiness and live "happily ever after".
I have gone through a phase, where I used to read only Danielle Steel. This was when I was studying in the Army School, Guwahati, in my 11th and 12th standard. Though I have not read her books in the past decade or so, I still vividly remember this book of hers'- ZOYA. The first thing that drew me to this book was the name Zoya. I really liked this name and had wanted to name my elder daughter Zoya, though that did not happen!
As with all her novels, this novel also has a strong female central character, Zoya, who is a cousin of the Czar of Russia. She flees from Russia during the Russian Revolution with her grandmother and goes to Paris, where she joins a ballet company. Much against the wishes of her grandmother, she falls in love with an American and moves to New York with him. But her happiness is short lived as she endures great hardship during the Great Depression and the World War 2, wherein her husband dies and leaves her all alone. She again falls in love with a rich cloth merchant, who too later dies in an another war. The story ends with how Zoya lives her life through all her difficulties, with her head held high, on her own terms.
The historical setting and the detailed description of the Russian history, is what makes this book so interesting. Danielle Steel has done a fabulous job in seamlessly fitting the fictional characters in the actual historical events, thus making the story almost real and believable.
This is a book which given a chance I would read even today, if ,just to check whether it still has the same charm and whether it can still interest me, as it had done so many years ago.