There are some books which just end up on our reading table for a long time, even though we find them sufficiently interesting. Thurston House written by Danielle Steel is one such book, which I managed to finish after a year!
To be fair, for 4 months it was at Café Coffee Day in Haldwani, where I had forgotten it while coming back from Kausani in July.
As luck and goodness of CCD staff would have it, I found it while coming back from Mukteshwar in November and ever since then, it has been laying on my reading table, until a few days back, when I finally started reading it once again.
Thurston House is the story of a Jeremiah Thurston and his daughter, Sabrina Thurston and is divided into 3 books.
The first book is entirely devoted to Jeremiah and talks about his struggle to establish himself in the mining industry, falling in love, losing the woman of his dream, only to fall in love once again and marry a girl, much younger to him (Sabrina’s mom), only to have her run away from the house, leaving him with the house he had built for her (Thurston House) and an infant child to take care of.
The second book is the coming of age of Sabrina Thurston, as she grows up with a hard working father, entirely devoted to her and the mines he runs.
Growing in his shadow, Sabrina is more interested in the intricacies of running the mine than the games girls love to play. Something which would come in handy all too soon, as she loses her father, her only family in the world, just a week before she turned 18!
The harsh realities of the world soon engulf her, as she finds herself alone in a world dominated and run by men, who just cannot come to terms with a woman running mines and ordering them around! With her foreman, the right hand of his father, even trying to rape her, after she declines his suggestion to sell the mine or let him run it!
Thurston House is the coming of age story of a girl, forced to take on the male-dominated society in the early 1900s, in a bid to retain what is rightfully her and not only run but also grow her father’s business by leaps and bounds!
It is also a story of a woman, alone in the world of men, first as a lonely child, then a young girl without a family, then as a young widow and eventually as a middle-aged mother with a son, who treats her with contempt.
It is the sort of story, which tells you the reality which not only existed a century ago but also exists today in this day and age and makes you respect the struggle women go through, as they try and run their lives and businesses while supporting their families.
Danielle Steel does a fabulous job of narrating the story and painting it in the mind of readers. It is only towards the end that she somewhat loses stream, as she gets too ingrained in the confused emotions Sabrina is supposed to be going through. Even then, Thurston House is a fantastic read from the beginning till the end.