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The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon
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Sep 07, 2012

really liked it

By Sidney Sheldon. Grade: A
Sidney Sheldon is one of the most prolific writers of all time. In the literary circles, he has been dubbed “the master of the unexpected”. From writing novels to screenplays to TV scripts, Sidney Sheldon has done it all. The Other Side of Midnight is the second novel of his career, the first being The Naked Face.
The story follows a beautiful French actress whose craving for passion and vengeance takes her from the gutters of Paris to the bedroom of a powerful billionaire; a dynamic Greek tycoon who never forgets an insult, never forgives an injury; and a handsome war hero lured from his wife by another woman. From Paris to Washington, Hollywood to the islands of Greece, The Other Side of Midnight is the story of four star-crossed lives enmeshed in a deadly ritual of passion, intrigue and corruption.

The plot basically revolves around two women: Noelle Page and Catherine Alexander.
Noelle Page, born in a small French town, is a young woman of unparalleled beauty. Her life was a dream, a doting father, a loving family, an awestruck village, until the Nazis invaded their country. Ever since then her life has been going downhill. She was forced into the arms (bed, rather) of the village’s richest man. But she runs away to Paris where she is rescued by an American stranger after getting into trouble. She falls in love with this American war hero, Larry Douglas and is about to marry him when she finds out that that the love of her life is a Casanova (that is an understatement) and that he had ditched her. It is at this point of time that she swears vengeance against the one man who had ruined her life and left her in shambles.
On the other hand, Catherine Alexander, born in Chicago in the family of a travelling salesman, had a lesser troubled life. As soon as she entered into college, a fear began to plague her which would shape the course of her life. Once graduated (and still fearing the same thing), she entered into a job in Washington D.C. where she found her first romance (who turned out to be her lifelong friend). After quite some time, she bumped into an arrogant, pestering, annoying man called Larry Douglas (yes, the same one). They both fall in love and get married.
Meanwhile, Noelle Page’s vengeance leads her to a French director, whose association helps her become an actress. From the bylanes of France, she had now come into the spotlight, into the eyes of every single person in France and all over the world. But when she learns about the new developments in Larry Douglas’ life, she renews her efforts and hence, lands into (yes, the bed) of Constantin Demiris, the ruthless yet benevolent Greek tycoon who had outmanoeuvred every enemy who had at any point of his life, insulted him. (During this period, it is Catherine who is suffering as Larry is caught up in the Second World War.)
Because of the deliberate circumstances created by Noelle, Larry ends up working for Demiris and both Catherine and Larry move to Greece. As planned by Noelle, this is the last nail in the coffin of Larry Douglas as he has now walked into her clutches. What happens at the end of Noelle’s vengeful journey is how the plot ends.
Had there been a moral of the story, it would have been “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. The sheer monstrosity of the hatred that Noelle holds for Larry in her heart is what drives her to the lengths across the world and Catherine, probably the only innocent figure in the novel, is caught up in this. Sidney Sheldon, in The Other Side of Midnight, gives a glimpse of the dark side of a woman’s heart and desires. The novel is really fast paced and the best part is how the timeline is put to use (believe it or not, the Second World War plays a very important role in the novel).
The writing is very gripping and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. Another very good example of how seemingly small errors in judgement can have extreme consequences. A must-read for everyone who is interested in fiction.

Originally reviewed at www.vaultofbooks.com
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