Book: The Prodigal Daughter

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Rating: 2.5/5

The Prodigal Daughter-Jeffrey Archer

This is the story of Florentyna Rosnovski, the only child of a Polish immigrant, who reaches the pinnacle of her career by becoming the first female President of the United States of America. Right from her childhood, Florentyna is drawn towards the famous leaders of the U.S. to the extent that her favourite toy is named after Franklin D. Roosevelt. She is born with a silver spoon and; therefore receives the best education and upbringing and shines out in every field of life be it academics, fashion, business or politics. As she grows into a fine young lady, she pursues her love life and business ambitions with the ardency and passion typical to her character. Then, a sudden reunion with a childhood friend rekindles her childhood dream and directs her towards a career in politics. The story follows Florentyna’s life right from her birth to her achieving her dream by beating all odds.

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Social/Historical context:

The entire story is set during 1934-1995 in various places in U.S.A. starting from Chicago to New York to Washington. At the backdrop are the World War II, the political setup of America and the hotel business. The society described comprises the affluent and sophisticated class. In focus are Florentyna and her experiences with various characters that surround her, such as her father, her governess, her friends, her husband, her children, her employees etc.

Writing Style:

Florentyna’s story has been narrated by the author. While doing so the author takes the reader through various aspects of America during the 20 century, such its culture, leaders, society, education system etc., thereby, making the novel an informative read. The narration; however, is extremely bland and lacks emotions. Politics and entrepreneurship are the two dominant themes of the novel. The language is polished and metaphorical with the use of some inspirational quotes here and there. The characterization is implicit and has a lot of depth.

My Thoughts:

The beginning is promising and I got interested in the character of the protagonist. It becomes very obvious that she will run for the elections and I was interested in her journey which I thought will be emotional or stimulating. The author; however, has downplayed many key events throughout the story and has focussed only in narrating the greatness and brilliance of the protagonist to the extent that it became difficult for me to relate to her character after sometime as it becomes more and more fictitious and unrealistic. The only part that touched my heart was Florentyna’s relationship with her governess. I think that at the time this novel was written and released, there were none or very few female leaders. As a result, the readers found reading about a female leader interesting enough. But as a reader of the current times, I’d prefer more complex plots with multidimensional characters which this novel fails to deliver.

Book Reviewed By Suchandra Ganguly

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