The Rich Are Different by Susan Howatch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love Susan Howatch's writing. What beautiful sentences she writes! Her stories are intriguing and hold together - despite their unbelievability at times. (Probably because they're based on true stories) She is amazing at giving voices to her character-narrators. They all sound different. She helps the reader see events from different perspectives and feel sympathy with opposing viewpoints all while moving the plot along at a can't put the book down speed.
The Rich Are Different is the story of the rise of Paul Cornelius Van Zale in 1920s America to the heights of wealth and power on Wall Street and his sordid lifestyle. He is killed by a friend and his grand-nephew takes over for him and follows oh-so-closely in his footsteps.
By accident, we happened to be reading about Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar in our homeschool this week. The story would seem far-fetched were it not based upon that true story. The story lines up even in small detail from which characters we meet and who they represent to specific actions they take. Fascinating and I have a better understanding of the Caesars.
Fair warning to those not familiar with Howatch's writing, but she is definitely R rated. I do plenty of skimming when I read her books ... the relations between men and women, married or no, are described in more detail than I'd prefer.
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