ZOYA by Danielle Steel
Kirkus Star


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Another hasty, slipshod effort from the Steel romance machine--this one about a Russian blue-blood who escapes the Revolution and makes good. Poor Zoya! It's 1917; she's 17 years old, gorgeous, and cousin to all kinds of tsars and tsarinas. In a normal year she'd be squeezing lap-dogs and perfecting her French--but this is, unfortunately, 1917. Quicker than a wink, the rabble kill her father and brother, drive her mother to suicide, and send her into exile with her grandmother, Evgenia. People are starving in Paris as the war grinds on, but Zoya manages to grab a job dancing with Diaghilev and his Ballet Russe. Which lasts until handsome American Major Clayton Andrews comes along and sweeps her off her feet. With Evgenia now dead, it's back to America and New York, where the Andrews couple live the high life on Sutton Place: ""The next few years flew on angels' wings, with people and excitement and parties. Zoya bobbed her hair. . .Cecil Beaton wrote about her constantly."" Unfortunately, however, Clayton invested his pile in the stock market; when it crashes, so does he, of a heart attack. Zoya is forced to take her two children to a cold-water flat, but Steel is hilariously uncomfortable when writing about poverty: soon Zoya is back in the pink, working in a chic Midtown dress shop. She marries Seventh Avenue mogul Simon Hirsch in 1936, and then starts her own wildly successful department store. After Simon's killed in the war, she just gets older and richer and wiser. . .and lonelier, despite a longtime affair with a faithful-retainer sort of lawyer. By the 1970's, Zoya is ready to retire--and at last to visit Russia, once again, before she dies. Even more than most recent Steel novels, this one has no plot at all: the story just moves in a straight line, like a flattened-out brain wave. Long-suffering Steel fans--wait-for their Queen to return to the fabled eminence of Passion's Promise and To Love Again--will find their brain waves flattened out as well.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1988
ISBN: 0385296495
Publisher: Delacorte