Monday, 6 August 2012

Sidney Sheldon "Master of the Game"


We, modern women, understand clearly that our life should be built with our own hands. For centuries women were told that they should be nice, modest, not too smart, practical and obedient. May be such women were loved by men of those times, but why then were those men drawn to women of much lower origin? It is their activity, desire to build life, adaptation to the prevailing circumstances and overcoming them, that made them so appealing in the eyes of men.

Going over hundreds of books, one can clearly trace the evolution of a helpless woman whose life depends on men (the heroines of Charlotte Bronte, George Sand, Charles Dickens) to individuals who are still masking their originality under the guise of "a modest violet" (Scarlet O'Hara, heroines of  Agatha Christie's, etc.).

The breaking point in the social role of women was the Second World War, when suddenly it turned out that cute girls who could only sing ballads and embroider daisies on canvas, were capable of caring for the wounded, driving heavy trucks with ammunition, and turning shells with military machines. After the war, women, realizing their power, did not return to the old gentle-lace look. The literature reflected it instantly.

Although the book, of which we speak today, talks about past times, the woman in the book is ultra-modern and quite unusual for the time in which she was placed by the novelist.

Kate from “
Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon grew up in South Africa. Her mother struggles to make a proper lady out of the girl: she sends her to the boarding-house, teaches her not to interfere in the affairs of men. However, when Kate was a child she and her mother were captured by the British. The girl was powerless to protect herself and her mother, and remembered this lesson for a lifetime.

She chose David Blackwell, the manager of their huge company, as her husband. David, not knowing that he became the subject of Kate’s actions teaches her the business management. Someone has to continue the family tradition, and there are no men left in the family. The girl, clenching her teeth, masters socially accepted manners, takes lessons of economics and struggles to be noticed by David. And then - ah! - He declares that he loves someone, he is going to get married and start his own business. Kate manages to cancel the marriage by a sophisticated intrigue - the bride's father, with whom David wanted to combine his capital, suddenly sells his business, and, shaken by deception, David refuses the bride. He eventually becomes Kate’s husband, and she, without her husband’s knowledge, tears the purchase agreement with David’s failed father-in law into small pieces...

You may condemn Kate. Yes, she does not only do righteous deeds, she often resorts to cunning. Her business is everything to her and all means to expand her business are good. Only one thing is terrible - she does not see a successor next to her. At a terrible cost, she manages to avert her son from an artist’s career and by way of a great intrigue she brings him into a marriage with a girl who can not only bring some capital but also give birth to heirs. The son goes mad after learning that his wife died during the childbirth. Her energetic granddaughter, Eve, is a scoundrel, always blames her sins on her twin sister Alexandra, and Alexandra herself, in the words of her grandmother is “a dear" showing no evidence of a business woman. The novel leaves open the question of who will relieve Kate at the tiller. But it is very touching to look at her attempts to estimate the chances of her great-grandchildren - here is a woman who never gives up!

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