September 9, 2011

Who Framed Grace Brookstein? • After the Darkness

Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness book cover
Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness by Sidney Sheldon, Tilly Bagshawe
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
Source/Format: Borrowed from Pam || Paperback

Blessed with the face of an angel and the guileless, trusting nature of a child, Grace Brookstein is the prized wife of the king of Wall Street, Lenny Brookstein. Despite the stock market's terrifying collapse, the Brooksteins' glamorous lifestyle of Palm Beach polo tournaments and G5 jets remains untouched—until the day Lenny goes sailing from their Nantucket beach estate and never comes home. When his abandoned yacht is found far out at sea, Grace is devastated. Lenny was her world. She has no idea that his disappearance is just the beginning of a dark, terrifying nightmare of murder, lies, greed, and betrayal that will shatter her life and destroy everything she has ever known. 

Before she can begin to grieve, the shocking news breaks that the $75 billion invested in Quorum, Lenny's hedge fund, is gone—and everyone believes that Grace has stolen the money. Overnight, the delicate beauty who was once the toast of moneyed society has become a reviled modern-day Marie Antoinette, alone and power-less to stop her infamous fall.  Grace is certain someone is framing her, and she'll do whatever it takes to prove it, even if it means taking the law into her own hands. Surrounded by enemies, with no one to turn to, Grace must learn to rely on herself—a bold, dangerous journey that will transform her in ways she never thought possible and lead her to a startling new life. 

Honestly, I don't normally pick up books of this genre or with this particularly kind of plot. But my best friend and fellow bookworm Pam recommended After the Darkness to me after she read it, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed After the Darkness; I blew through the entire thing in less than a day because I thought it was so interesting.

The key to After the Darkness is not its characters, but rather, it's crazily spun out web of a plot. Though it started out slow, the novel eventually turned into quite the page-turner. It was an entirely gripping read simply because I had to find out what was going to happen next -- who the suspects really were, their individual motives, their tangled web of relationships, the next plot twist that would occur and how it would all go down in the end. It was exciting and glamorous and intense; I immensely enjoyed going along for the ride.

Though the characters are not central to my attraction to After the Darkness, I could not help but admire Grace Brookstein. I didn't like her at the very beginning because she seemed a little too naive and dependent on other people for my tastes. But as After the Darkness progressed, I witnessed her transformation into a cunning, intelligent, independent and fearless individual - and I think I could kind of admire her for finally standing on her own two feet, despite certain questionable choices and incidents. All in all, After the Darkness is a pretty good read - and definitely a good first foray into this kind of novel for a reader like me.


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