Times bestsellers as of November 2006. While Iris Johannes style has evolved over the years, the same skill that made her “one of the leading authors of romance fiction” has helped establish her reputation in a broader field. As Catherine Coulter noted, “Iris Johannes is a bestselling author for the best reason she’s a wonderful storyteller. ” The ugly Duckling is captivating from the beginning and nothing like the fairy tale for which it is named. It is a tale of betrayal, survival and exacting revenge.
The main character of the book is Nell Calder.
She was born plain Of face, and her mother let her know n no uncertain terms that this ugly duckling would never turn into a swan. Flash to the present day, and Nell, despite her mousiness, is married to a handsome executive on the rise and has a wonderful little daughter. Nevertheless, she is never not self-conscious about her lack of dazzle. Her world revolves around her four-year-old daughter, Jill, and not around her husband Richard.
Ata big social-business affair on a Greek island, the party is attacked by masked assailants. What she didn’t realize was that she was at the center of that nastiness.
She miraculously survives an assassination tempt, while everyone else at a party is murdered, including her young daughter and husband. After the murder, the man, who has killed Knell’s family, turns the knife on her face and body. An attack that should have killed her, gives her the strength to seek vengeance. Her world destroyed, Nell wills herself to die, until a stranger gives her a purpose to live: revenge. The mysterious Nicholas Tank, once master of his own criminal network, will do anything and use anyone to destroy the drug cartel and cold-blooded killer Philippe Gardener, who, he tells Nell, murdered a “very close” friend.
In fact, Nicholas -gentle with women, deadly with enemies- is pursuing the drug lord because he has murdered Nick’s surrogate father by infecting him with an unspeakably awful South American virus that slowly devours the Organs Of its victims. Knell’s is determinate to kill the man, who murdered her family. She is so badly injured she requires a completely new face, compliments of the world’s top plastic surgeon, Dry. Joel Libber. Nicholas Tank supplies the surgeon to restore her face and body. She emerges from the resultant plastic surgery as the stunning beauty she could never imagine being.
But recruiting he vengeful woman proves a big mistake for Nicholas for she awakens in him new and unsettling emotions that threaten his mission. Given a new face and identity, Nell throws herself into guerrilla and martial arts training with Nicholas. The two become lovers, but that won’t keep Nell from finding and punishing her daughter’s killer – with or without her lover’s help. Nell has transformed herself into a powerful swan; a match for any man, even Tank. I will stop here, less I give the ending away, and close by saying Iris Johannes has come up with a roller-coaster of a storyline.
The Ugly Duckling is a face aced thriller of revenge and survival that will keep you enthralled to the last pages. The characters I want to cite the words from the book, where the author describes the appearance of Nell Calder: “… The girl in the mirror was plump, her eyes swollen and bloodshot. The bright yellow blossoms Nell had thought so beautiful looked limp and pitiful tucked in her untidy brown hair. By wearing them, she had made even the flowers seem ugly… “. The author doesn’t mention the exact appearance of Nicholas Tank, but the reader can understand, that he was rather handsome and strong man.
After the scarce and plastic surgery, Nell and Nick fall in love with each other, but this feeling doesn’t affect Knell’s thirst for the revenge. To make a long Story short, in the book there are: a forceful, enigmatic hero with a dangerous past and a mission of his own (Nicholas Tank); a focused, determined, and refreshingly creative heroine who develops quite nicely (Nell Calder); and a few interesting secondary characters join forces in a well-executed story that deftly provides chilling suspense without sacrificing a warm romance. Hint this book was written for the people, who just wanted to read something interesting and exciting. It is not recommended for the people under eighteen because of some intimate scenes and “strong’ words. A thriller like this one has not any message, I think. This book is not very difficult to read, even for a beginner. In dialogues between the characters the author doesn’t use any tenses except Present Indefinite Tense. Iris Johannes uses simple language in her book, without any difficult idioms or expressions.
The author offers interesting insights into human nature and psychology. I think it is necessary to describe the inner world of Nell Calder, her thoughts and feelings during her childhood and after the murder of her family. Johannes lets the reader know, how it feels, when you see the suffering of your little daughter and your beloved husband. This book is a great thriller with a little romance thrown in for balance. Johannes has written a bestseller and does it with her unique style.
Her novels are very exciting and have a lot of twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the book makes another twist and you can’t stop reading it because you want to know what will happen next. There is a term for a book that is impossible to put down: “a page-turner”. That’s what call a book that captivates you from the beginning and holds you o tight, that you can’t even breathe in! You want to know more about the main characters and their adventures and you just can’t stop reading that book.
But if you succeeded in this, you’ll wait for the another chance to take the book and continue reading with great impatience. This is definitely “a page-turner’! One of the things I admire about Johannes writing style, is the fact that you never really know who the bad guy is until the end. You may have an idea but her characters are never clearly evil or good, but a mixture of both. Even Nell can seem evil in her thoughts of the revenge. Maybe that’s why Iris’ books seem to mimic real life (it could be real life) and draw you in from the first page.
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