Friday, January 11, 2008

After the Fire by Belva Plain

Title: After the Fire
Author: Belva Plain
ISBN: 044023574X
Publisher: Dell Publishing/2000
Pages: 439

This is one of the books I picked up from the pavement book bazaar dirt-cheap because I liked the cover. I had heard of Belva Plain before this.

Initially the story moves a bit slowly as it describes the meeting, dating, and subsequent marriage of Gerald and Hyacinth. Their marriage is the envy of all their friends. The pace picks up, once Gerald becomes a successful doctor and then their marriage begins to fall apart. Hyacinth's jealousy places her in a position, which results in a death of a man. Gerald gets the perfect weapon to blackmail her. He divorces her, taking away their children to Florida. For fear of what Gerald will do with his knowledge, prevents Hyacinth to fight for custody of their children.

Belva Plain does a good job of developing her characters and making the reader feel their pain. When Hyacinth mops around the house after Gerald and the kids move to Florida, one can feel the intense pain she is undergoing. When she finally pulls herself together, goes to school, and becomes a successful fashion designer, one can only encourage her. On the other hand, one feels nothing but plain loathing for Gerald for being so cruel as to keep children away from their mother. The reader's heart also aches for the children who are caught in the middle and do not understand why their mother is not staying with them.

After the Fire holds your interest and makes you want to keep reading. The twists and turns of Hyacinth's life after her divorce and loss of custody of her children make this book a real page-turner. The suspense is maintained throughout the book so as to what really happened that night which changed Hyacinth's life forever. And how she overcomes it to fight back for her children. It makes a good Sunday afternoon read. Not your usual romance.