The Rich are Different, by Susan Howatch

Epic saga set in the late 1920s: Dinah Slade is an ambitious English woman who falls for Paul Van Zale, a Manhattan banker. The board doesn't approve of Paul's affair but even after he dies, Dinah continues to exert influence on his successors.

This is another Howatch book where each section is narrated by a different character - Paul, Dinah, etc.. I enjoyed this quite a bit more than Glittering Images, maybe because I'd forgotten the story - or at least not (mis-)remembered the story. Plenty of cliff-hanging chapter endings kept the thing going at quite a pace and so despite its being quite long, it didn't feel a chore to read.

According to Wikipedia, the characters in this book are based on Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark-Antony etc.. I'm not sure how they worked this out - there's nothing in the text that makes this clear so far as I can see - but once you realise this, it does give the book another layer of interest. I'm not sure why that should be - I suppose it makes you realise that Howatch is constrained in what she can do with her characters. So such-and-such a couple have so many children; this person dies before that person, etc..

There's a sequel, "Sins of the Fathers", which I may re-read but maybe after a bit of a break from Howatch.

Completed : 13-Dec-2010

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