Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Over the years I’ve come to love or hate the work of Davidyne Saxon Mayleas. Take her 1991 NAKED CALL, for example, about Hollywood and the mob. It was a fab read from beginning to end. Her previous work THE WOMAN WHO HAD EVERYTHING, on the other hand, I could have done without. It is a tepid account of a Wall Street queen who suffers and suffers just like its readers. Then there’s MAJESTIC DREAMS, supposedly written by her husband William Saxon. Which may or may not be true, since both are narratively similar in structure, style, even in plot twists. MAJESTIC DREAMS is about the rise and fall of a brother and sister team who makes it big in the real estate business. You know the drill, they love, they suffer, they loose everything, and one of them gets it all back and then some. Nothing new here. Except this one is well-written. So much so in fact that it’s almost a crime that it is not more compelling.

The main problem with MAJESTIC DREAMS is that it’s barely a woman’s novel. The book is more centered on the real estate aspect, putting the personal life of the female protagonist on the back burner which ultimately tarnishes the end product. Nothing in MAJESTIC DREAMS reminds the reader of, say, a novel like SCRUPLES, and therein lies the book’s biggest flaw: it being tagged as a Judith Krantz-type of a read (just take a look at that cover) when it’s actually far from it. But hey, novels like this one were a dime a dozen in those days. It’s just misleading to make it look like a female-oriented offering.

That said, if you like the work of Arthur Hailey or Jonathan Black, or even Harold Robbins for that matter, you may end up digging MAJESTIC DREAMS. It’s not a bad book; it’s just not as involving as it leads us to believe. Be conscious of that, plus the fact that sometimes book covers can be deceiving (as synopsis can) and you’ll be fine. Though, I agree, the only way sometimes to be sure if a novel rocks is to read part of the damn thing. And that’s where I come in, to help sort through the many trashy selections being offered. And based on what I have gathered so far from this Saxon fellow (that includes his perhaps “alter ego”, of course), you’ll be more satisfied with a novel like NAKED CALL or Mayleas’ first hit, DARLING, NO REGRETS which has the same MAJESTIC DREAMS account of poor girl on the rise but delivered with more panache.

Until next post—Martin

US hardcover edition

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