I wasn’t going to read another Danielle Steele book after finding them too predictable but when I saw The Klone and I my resolve weakened.
The main character Stephanie is 41, divorced and at a low ebb when she meets 59 year old Peter in Paris. Her marriage break up 2 years earlier came as a total shock to her. She believed that her and her husband Roger were happy until the day he told her that he had met somebody else, didn’t love her and wanted a divorce.
Stephanie blamed the break up on letting herself go and becoming frumpy. Once over the shock she threw away her flannelette nighties, dieted and exercised and bought herself a new wardrobe. Her new image didn’t get her husband back as she secretly hoped but it did give her the confidence to help rebuild her life and start dating again.
Some people manage to find new partners quickly after break ups and diminish their feelings of hurt and rejection. Others like Stephanie try the dating game and meet many prospective partners but none ever feel right. After the break up Stephanie realised or perhaps accepted that her husband had used her for a meal ticket. She had a healthy private income and he was in and out of work or following pipe dreams for a lot of their 13 year marriage leaving her to support them and their two children. Roger’s new partner has a larger trust fund than Stephanie, making her feel as if her money had been why he stayed with her for so long rather than herself and he had waited to move on until he found a better meal ticket. The feeling of being used would bring a massive blow to the confidence and it would be hard to learn to trust anybody of the opposite sex. Stephanie had just about given up on the hope of finding a new partner when she met wealthy bionic engineer Peter.
She had gone to Paris to pick up her children after them spending a holiday in the south of France with their father and his new wife. For a few days before meeting them she shopped and explored Paris. Peter was staying at the same hotel as her and they shared some of that time together. By coincidence Peter also lived in New York and the relationship continued and grew once they got back. After 3 months Peter announced that he had to go to California for 2 weeks to oversee the company that he owns there and says that he has a surprise for her.
The surprise rang her doorbell and turned out to be Peter or his double called Paul who is exactly like Peter in good looks and physique but totally opposite Peter in dress sense and behaviour. Peter is conservative in every way that Paul is not and when Stephanie first sees Paul dressed in fluorescent green skin-tight and revealing satin pants, a see through sparkly black net shirt, black satin cowboy boots with rhinestone buckles and wearing a diamond peace chain around his neck she believes that Peter is playing a joke or has flipped.
From there on the novel slips into fantasy and becomes so unrealistic that I laughed at most of the rest of it. Stephanie’s visitor tells her that he is Paul’s klone and his most successful experiment to date. He has been sent to entertain her for the 2 weeks that Peter is away but usually he stays in the shop with his head off. Stephanie treats it as a joke and goes along with it but wonders if this new Peter is some form of escapism for the conservative Peter. The Peter she knows wouldn’t do double, then treble, then quadruple flips in bed, nor would he wear such a variety of wild outfits.
I liked the basic idea in that it feels safe to be with somebody who is staid and reliable but every now and then spice things up by throwing in unexpected fun, madness and wild sex. With the same partner pretending to be somebody else that could be quite a roller coaster ride, but with two different partners you would surely be heading for double trouble – and a bad back from the bedtime antics!
I don’t think that I’m a fuddy duddy but the thought of a 59 year old man wearing garish spandex outfits seemed ridiculous to me. I found it hard to create an image in my mind of such an exotic creature and as far as eroticism is concerned I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything for laughing. I can imagine that it would be fun to go to a posh restaurant with him and watch the waiters pretending that there is nothing out of the ordinary, but 2 weeks of posh restaurants, parties, business meetings and extreme behaviour would cause more than the indicated tiny ripple if those who see peacock Paul are used to staid Peter.
Then there are the children. Danielle Steele makes it clear that the children are quite normally taking their time to get to know and accept Peter. After 3 months the oldest 13 year old Charlotte still hasn’t accepted him, thinks he is boring and would throw a wobbly if she thought her mum had sex with him. Then Paul appears and not only do the children accept him and his dramatically altered appearance without question and think him cool, they are suddenly happy that he stays overnight at their apartment. They are told that he is sleeping in the guest room but come on, children are inquisitive and with 2 weeks of nights full of double flips from the bed to the floor the bumps in the night would be enough to waken the dead never mind two youngsters.
I found the Peter/Paul character hard to like in either guise and they wouldn’t figure in my fantasies. Peter would be too staid and Paul would be too silly.
You’ll have to read the book to find out if Paul is really a klone, Peter has a split personality, playing out his sexual fantasies or Peter’s identical twin. I expected the novel to be a little different from Danielle’s normal style of writing and it was to a certain extent. I had fun reading it but I did find the ending easy to guess. Part of the fun was imagining what I would do in Stephanie’s situation. Enjoy it I guess but burn the spandex.
I felt that Danielle Steele enjoyed writing this novel, it is a change from her normal formulaic style probably expected by her publishers but I did wonder how much of it was her own fantasy. Although I liked the book I found it easy to put down and pick up again later. Good for light reading and it entertained me on a train journey but not a fantastic book.
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Review Source: http://creativewriter.me.uk