Love, hardship and hope with Danielle Steel - book reviews

In His Fathers Footsteps by Danielle Steel
In His Fathers Footsteps by Danielle Steel

Autumn nights just got brighter with two inspirational novels from Danielle Steel, one of the world’s most popular authors who has sold almost a billion books since 1972.

In His Father’s Footsteps by Danielle Steel

Jakob and Emmanuelle Stein count themselves lucky to be amongst the few who lived through – and survived – the horrors of Buchenwald concentration camp.

They lost everything and everyone in the unspeakable atrocities of wartime but since those dark days, they have forged a new life in New York. Their beloved son Max has all the advantages they never enjoyed… but can he ever live up to such an overwhelming legacy?

Steel brings us the emotionally charged and powerful multi-generational story of a family struggling to shake off a cruel past but discovering that wartime events still cast a very long shadow.

In April, 1945, as the Americans storm the Buchenwald camp, Jakob and Emmanuelle, barely more than teenagers, meet and find hope and comfort in each other.

They marry and, with help, travel to New York, resolved to make a new life on the Lower East Side, working at gruelling, poorly paid jobs.

Decades later, through talent, faith, fortune, and relentless hard work, Jakob has achieved success in the diamond business, invested in real estate in New York, and shown his son, Max, that America is truly the land of opportunity.

Max is a rising star, a graduate of Harvard with friends among the wealthiest, most ambitious families in the world.

And while his parents were thrown together by chance, Max chooses a perfect bride to start the perfect American family. With an opulent society wedding, a honeymoon in Tahiti and a palatial home in Greenwich, Max’s lavish lifestyle is unimaginable to his cautious old-world father and mother. Max wants to follow his father’s example and make his own fortune but after the birth of children, and with a failing marriage, he can no longer deny that his wife is not the woman he thought she was.

Angry and afraid, Max must do what he has never done before… struggle, persevere, and learn what it means to truly walk in his father’s footsteps, while pursuing his own ideals and setting an example for his children.

In His Father’s Footsteps is a powerful, compassionate story of fathers and sons, courage, ambition and family love set in the dramatically transforming years after the Second World War.

(Macmillan, hardback, £18.99)

Fall From Grace by Danielle Steel

A middle-aged woman must discover her inner strength when her life hits rock bottom in an inspirational and dramatic rags-to-riches story.

Sydney Wells’s perfect life with her wealthy, devoted husband Andrew vanishes when he dies suddenly in an accident. Widowed at forty-nine, she discovers that he has failed to include her in his will.

With Andrew’s vicious daughters in control of his estate, and no home or money, she is forced to leave the beautiful house they shared and is left with nothing.

On a flight from Paris to New York, an emergency landing forces her into the arms of Paul Zeller. The pair bond over a shared love of fashion and before long Sydney’s mysterious new acquaintance offers her a chance to return to the industry she loves.

Taking up a job at Paul’s high street clothing chain, Sydney thinks her luck has turned but when a scandal hits the company, she finds herself in the firing line.

Humiliated, publicly shamed and faced with prison, she must rebuild her own life from the bottom to the top again.

With courage and resilience, Sydney revives her own career as a talented designer, from New York to Hong Kong, risking all in an exotic, unfamiliar world. She is determined to forge a new life she can be proud of… and discovers that her greatest adventure might still be to come.

Steel is on her best form in this gripping tale of a woman who loses everything… her husband, her home, her sense of self and safety, and her freedom.

And Sydney is certainly an inspirational heroine… middle aged, divorced and left almost entirely alone after a series of devastating blows, she refuses to be bowed and fights back against the cruel winds of fate.

Brimming with emotion and drama, Fall From Grace will delight Steel’s army of fans.

(Pan, paperback, £7.99)