“Lara knew exactly what she wanted. The question was how she was going to get it.”
The Stars Shine Down, by Sidney Sheldon
William Morrow, 1992
400 pages (hardcover)
Lara Cameron is young and beautiful. Rising from a past she seeks to repress, she achieves her wildest ambition, creating a much-envied business empire. Then, overnight, all that has gone before, her fortune, her achievements, and her marriage – everything – is at risk.
Paul Martin, a brilliant but mysterious lawyer who is captivated by Lara, finally is faced with her desire for independence and his own compulsion not to let her go.
Howard Keller, Lara’s longtime friend and mentor, is torn between loyalty to her and maintaining a terrifying secret, one that must never be revealed – especially to Lara.
It is Philip Adler who offers Lara an exciting new world, but at a devastating price that threatens to destroy them both.
As a thriller, The Stars Shine Down was pretty terrible. I don’t even know why it’s classified as such, since nothing suspenseful or thrilling happens until about three-quarters of the way through the book.
It’s so compulsively readable. Sidney Sheldon takes a plot that should have had me bored to tears and somehow turns it into something I just can’t put down. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the writing, and yet it must be ingenious, because it certainly wasn’t the plot keeping me going.
The book starts in a strange way. The opening leads into a flashback, which then leads into another flashback. I was starting to find it ridiculous and thinking I’d probably DNF, because this wasn’t at all the book I’d been expecting… but I was a hundred pages in before I finally put it down. And by then, somehow, I was hooked.
And it only got better from there. Once Lara is grown, she becomes an interesting heroine, a fascinating contradiction. At that point, I was definitely reading more for her than anything else. But that still doesn’t explain how I got through the introduction, all through her childhood, without giving up.
Even now, I can’t quite understand what this book did to me. All I know is that I definitely need to read more of Sidney Sheldon.
Does The Stars Shine Down sound like something you’d pick up? What was the last book you read that caught you completely off-guard?