Mary Ashley, US ambassador to an Iron Curtain country, discovers that she andher family are the target of an international conspiracy. 2 cassettes. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (28)
Intrigue! Suspense! A Fun Read
The newly-elected President has appointed beautiful Mary Ashley to be the new ambassador to Romania in his new people-to-people campaign. Trouble is, there are others in very high places that don't want this to happen. Ashley, who has never left Kansas, is swept onto the world stage to bring goodwill and hope to a country dominated by a tyrannical leader. She's guided by those who want to see her succeed, and those who want her dead.
Sheldon's novel is fast paced and fun to read, with enough twist and turns to keep it entertaining to the end. It's not terribly plausible (I mean, how many assassins do you know would call themselves "Angel?") yet has enough information to create a scene that could happen in any far-off locale. With global terrorsim at all levels continuing to take up so much of the headlines, this (now 23-year-old!) book still has relevance in today's global political climate.
If you're a Sheldon fan, or looking for a quick read to keep you from glossing over the newspapers all day, this is worth your weekend.
It was what the doctor order:superficial, mindless but additively fun.
The newly elected president decides he wants to develop a better relationship with countries of the old cold war, Romania especially. Instead of a trained person for the ambassador job, he picks a teacher from a Kansas school, who specializes in that area in her studies. He read an article she had written and since what she had written was also his views, he asks her to take the job. At first she declines because of her family and her husband's commitments to his patients (he is a doctor), but after he dies in a mysterious car accident, she decides to take the job.
There are many who don't like the idea of Romania and the U.S. getting buddy buddy and a secret group from around the world, including those in the U.S., work to sabotage the presidents efforts. They hire an assassin, who has never been defeated to take out several key people.
Mary Ashley, the ambassador, is turning out to be quite successful at her job, and is the target of an assassination. She doesn't know who to trust.
This was the first Sydney Sheldon book I ever read.I had my appendix removed at age 33 and my colleagues from work gave me a book to pass time.It was what the doctor order:superficial, mindless but additively fun.
Outstanding intrigue that keeps you on the edge of your seat as our heroine, Mary Ashley, rises from a simple, happy life of wife, mother, and assistant professor at Kansas State University where she teaches Eastern European political science to the position of Ambassador of Romania.How this all comes about is quite the story.What is really a treat for the reader is the way Mary handles herself in this highly publicized and very political position (a lot of times with just some good old American know-how and common sense).Someone who has no experience on running a government position is put up against the most powerful heads of countries and is forced to handle herself with just the tools of her education, training and down-home Kansas charm - all the while knowing that her country is depending on her to "keep the peace" in an iron curtain country about ready to explode.Add the espionage and mystery of the "Angel of Death" to the mix and Sidney Sheldon shows you why he was one of the most renowned authors and playwrights of his time!Enjoy.
Diamonds, Pearls, Mirrors & Lace.Dis is the Place to Face Fear, Fall, ThenF L Y !
Sidney's world of the novel was recommended to me by my nephew, Lonnie Joe Hudnall, an ex marine who was based in Seoul Korea, as a military policeman, later adding translator to his list of duties performed to precision without pomp.When Lonnie lived somewhere he lived there, with those people, melding himself into their ways of doing, thinking, and speaking, as much as he could do that and honor his military commitments.
When Lonnie recommended WINDMILLS OF THE GODS to me, which was my first dip into Sidney's mainstream novels, I was indeed curious, and not disappointed.Read that book twice, and then progressed to read all the other early books, though I'm happy to say I still have a couple of Sheldon's most recent novels on my To Read list.I knew that Sheldon was one of Lonnie's favorite authors, but I also knew that Lonnie's reasons for recommending Windmills to me went beyond sharing that appreciation.Of course, as I read, I was looking for why Lonnie felt I would enjoy this particular book.Did he see me as being similar to the woman who became an ambassador?If so, I was highly complimented.The most engrossing part of the book for me was the unlikely, yet cleaver and effective ways the home-spun heroine dealt with the awkward, demanding situations in this auspicious position.
The only compliment I've received from Lonnie which was higher, was his conclusion after reading several chapters of my nonfiction manuscript, MOLASSES MOON."I was reading and reading and reading, and all of a sudden I realized it felt like I hadn't been reading, but that I had been thinking my own thoughts."If that isn't a compliment on syntax being smooth and natural, I don't know what is.Thanks, Lonnie, for many things, especially our fascinating discussions on, and mutual love of books and words.
Lonnie is also a writer, with at least one novel written into several chapters of a first draft, and a few tentative beginnings of a project of rewriting history in a uniquely intriguing slant and style.Maybe I'll be reviewing one of his books here one day.Maybe he'll be reviewing one of mine.
Writers.Gotta love em.
In this review, instead of writing only about WINDMILLS, which was the first novel of Sheldon's I read, I'd like to ramble a bit into the first novel he wrote, and tie the whole shebang into a literary knot.
In THE NAKED FACE, Sheldon gives Stephen King a run for his money, competing with his ability to unearth the gritty emotional core of homo sapiens.This was one of my favorite of Sheldon's mainstream novels; I've read most of those works, some more than once.The psychological depth of Sidney's characters, exposing inner visions of various disturbances, came out with amazing clarity and complexity in this novel.It appeared to me that Sidney understood the inside, underside, and upside of the human psyche, possibly in a more intuitive way than a practicing psychiatrist.
I read this novel in the late 80's, and I'm not good at recalling details, so I won't strain my brain to give a plot summary from a bad memory, which might mistakenly mix a few other novels into this one.What I do recall clearly, though, is that I was deeply impressed with this novel, so much so that I continued chewing on exactly what it was which awed me about this particular story.It had something to do with Sidney's grasp of psychosis and his ability to redeem it or to know when to render it to the fires of cremation.I knew I would come to a time to read the book again later, and come to a catharsis with that nagging feeling of more value to be had through a repeat read of THE NAKED FACE.
Maybe after that reread I could write a decent plot summary.In any case, I've rarely written any type of synopsis in my reviews, mostly because that's done perfectly by other reviewers.Instead, I do my thing, which is to try to help potential readers decide if a book is easy to get into, by detailing what captured and kept my interest, by determining what glued a book into my mind so I could live vicariously in it.
Some of the reviews of THE NAKED FACE mentioned that, as Sheldon's first novel, it was less than his others.I can see how they came to that conclusion.I can also understand how others described it as better than, and noted psychological complexity.Most said it was engrossing.
If Sheldon had written THE NAKED FACE (or published it) at the end of his career as a novelist instead of at the beginning, might that work be seen in a different light?Might it be viewed as a crowning achievement, shedding light (yeah, I'm going overboard, or maybe I have my head in the clouds) on every angle of his long and varied, creative career?
By the way, Sidney's long and varied career, is highlighted beautifully in THE OTHER SIDE OF ME, Sidney's memoirs released November 8, 2005.
That's another must get; must read, for those of us who love to labyrinth into worlds of fiction.Yet, this isn't fiction; it's Sidney's life, which appears to read better than some of the best novels.In fact it appears to be better than even Sidney's novels.And, that's saying something.
I read the first few chapters of these memoirs while browsing in a couple bookstores in Grand Junction, CO, HASTINGS and BARNES & NOBLE, on 12/12/05.Feeling similarly to a reviewer of that book, after reading a few chapters of Sidney's memoirs, I was tempted to temporarily halt a book I had been enjoying immensely, to continue reading THE OTHER SIDE OF ME.It wasn't easy to temporarily put aside Sidney's memoirs, and decide to wait and order it from Amazon (which I did on 12/17/05).
THE OTHER SIDE OF ME, as noted above, appears to be more riveting than any of Sidney's novels; it exposes beautifully the richness of Sheldon's personal history, and how he became the phenomenon he is.
Having read only the first 4 chapters, I received an "ah ha!" for the source of his kaleidoscope writing style.I began to see why many of his novels have the first 5 chapters begin from different parts of the world or from different life pursuits, each chapter initiating sets of characters who seem to have nothing to do with those in the other opening chapters.
In understanding how his life set up his style as a novelist, I also understand how THE OTHER SIDE OF ME explained its first chapter's event to Otto, Sidney's father, who ingeniously convinced 17 year old Sidney not to add the sleeping pills to the whiskey he had consumed in preparation for them.I believe that Sidney will gently and subtly weave the answer to the first riveting chapter into the remainder of the book, tying the themes of his childhood into the directions of his ultimate success, and the devastations of riding the psyche designed from those early chaotic years, boomeranging repeatedly from poverty to riches and back.
A review noted that these memoirs delve more into Sidney's show biz career than into his life as a novelist.It was helpful to know that, even though I was also hoping to learn more about Sheldon's background around his novels.Even so, I'll read between the delicious lines if possible, seeking silver threads exposing his reasons for featuring the vignettes he did.Those features will likely answer the main questions I would have about how Sidney's life drove his multi-fronted successes.
I wonder if Sidney's memoirs will go the way of his Midnight novels, and split into at least a duo if not a trilogy.I hate to be left in the position of, if I want more of a book I have to reread it.But, of course that's a better position than dropping a novel into the fire of the coal stove after having read it, to be sure no one else ever picks it up.
I did that once; I won't tell what book it was.It wasn't a novel I'll ever review here, since I've made a pact with myself to review only books good enough to rave with 5 stars, as I wish upon them for more. I feel somewhat guilty "coping out" like that, since that leaves the task to other reviewers to expose those books which might not be worth reading, or to expose the dull or drag parts in otherwise good reads.My problem isn't a matter only of being too sensitive to criticize publically; it's that every book has great value to certain readers at certain times.I don't feel qualified to know what's truly bad, or why.I'm still learning what's good and why.
Speaking of rereading to get more.A few years ago, my Mom and a friend and I were on the way to Santa Fe.I was driving my Mom's 67 Ford Galaxy; the friend was reading my sci fi ms, MORNING COMES.Reaching the -30- at the end of the last page, I believe it was page 400-something, the friend screeched, "Oh No!!"My stomach gathered into granite, "Did she just read something she hated?Did she hate the ending?"
I didn't have to ask.
"It CAN'T be over!I don't want this book to end!"She immediately flipped to the first page and began again, her scowl smoothing into a smile as she continued rereading and I continued driving southwest to visit Sunstone Press.
Returning to a True Master of That Game, I should note that I see differences between Sidney's early novels and his later ones, all great, just subtly different in feel.I won't get into detail on that; I merely wanted to state the opinion and run.
In closing, I'll mention that Sidney's Midnight novels stay in my mind as being the most engrossing and complexly satisfying reads in his collection.
Can't wait to get my hands on my personal copy of THE OTHER SIDE OF ME,
P.S. Also ordered the hardback of Nicholas Spark's TRUE BELIEVER.Looking forward to rereading in easy chair plush the installments I read riveted to the book shelves in my local Wal Mart during a series of grocery hops (see my review on TRUE BELIEVER and its companion review on Stephen King's MISERY).
Sheldon at His Best!
The newly appointed ambassador to Romania has her work cut our for her.Someone's out to get her, but WHO??It's definitely a mysterious murder plot, and Sheldon does an excellent job of weaving the plot around the shiny knife of suspense.You never know quite what will happen next. There are always twists and turns in the plot.We empathize with well meaning Mary as she faces unseen assassins and the "treachery of men she trusts."
I listened to the audio version of this book, which was published in 1987.Lee Remick does a great job of reading.I look forward to reading Sheldon's "Rage of Angels" and "If Tomorrow Comes."
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