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by Danielle Steel

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In this rich, involving novel from Danielle Steel, a woman’s life catapults from the old to the new, as she learns to seize the moment.
Stephanie Adams is a devoted stay-at-home mother, married to a successful lawyer in northern California, in a dead marriage she&rsquo



In this rich, involving novel from Danielle Steel, a woman’s life catapults from the old to the new, as she learns to seize the moment.
Stephanie Adams is a devoted stay-at-home mother, married to a successful lawyer in northern California, in a dead marriage she’s stayed in for years for the sake of her children. Then, on a ski trip in Squaw Valley, her fifty-two-year-old husband dies suddenly and all bets are off.
Despite her children’s grief, and her own conflicting emotions and loneliness, Stephanie tries to move on, but struggles to find herself as an independent individual after years of giving up her life for everyone else. A spur-of-the-moment road trip and fork in the road lead her to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and a chance meeting—and her whole life changes forever.
She meets country music megastar Chase Taylor, who opens his whole world to her. Stephanie is no longer the same woman, and can’t be anymore. A new man. A new life. The excitement of Nashville. She discovers not only Chase, but herself. The music is bittersweet and the lyrics true in his dazzling, exotic, and honest world.
As it deftly explores the complex ties between spouses, children, lovers, and friends, and dances between the past and the future, Danielle Steel’s moving novel brilliantly captures the shock of sudden loss, and the freedom it can bring. Here America’s most beloved novelist shares the enduring power of seizing the day. Carpe diem.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Stephanie Adams has stayed at home to tend her children and lawyer husband, but with his death on the ski slopes, she's suddenly got a lot of options—including country music megastar Chase Taylor, whom she meets on a sudden-impulse road trip. Look for four Steel titles next year.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The day dawned brilliantly sunny, reflecting the bright light on the crisp snow that had fallen the day before in Squaw Valley. The ski conditions were perfect, better than they ever had been for Bill, Stephanie, and their two favorite couples, the Freemans and Dawsons, with whom they spent Presidents’ Weekend every year. It was a tradition they had observed for ten years, a sacred pact that none of them would break.

Alyson Freeman had come, even days before she had given birth to their last baby, their third child, two years before, refusing to miss the great weekend they always shared. And since Brad was a doctor, she said she felt safe being there. It was only a four-­hour drive from home, and although Brad was an orthopedic surgeon and not an obstetrician, she knew he would see to it that she got the best care, if she gave birth in Tahoe over the long weekend. Their Presidents’ Weekend was a date they never broke, and this year was no different. It was meant to be an adult weekend, free of children and responsibilities.

It was no longer an issue for Stephanie and Bill, whose children were dispersed and working in Atlanta and New York, for their first steps on their fledgling careers, and in Rome, where their younger daughter was spending her junior year abroad. Fred and Jean Dawson’s daughters were both married and lived in Chicago, having married brothers. But even Brad and Alyson, whose children were much younger than the others’, agreed not to bring their kids, and left them with an au pair at home.

Fred and Jean had been married the longest and were slightly older than the others. To those outside the close circle of friends, they appeared to have the perfect marriage. Fred had invented software that had made him a fortune, and had gotten in on the dot-­com boom right at the beginning. Their palatial home in Hillsborough was testimony to his success, along with his plane, his Ferrari and Aston Martin, and Jean’s stable full of Thoroughbred horses, which were her passion. They had money to burn, and Fred’s humble origins were a dimly remembered dream now.

Jean had been a waitress in Modesto when he met her, from a dirt-­poor family that had just lost their farm when her father died in an accident, leaving five starving kids and a widow who looked twenty years older than she was. Jean rarely saw her siblings anymore and had nothing in common with them. She had married Fred thirty years before, and was fifty-­one years old. She’d had her eyes done, an excellent face-­lift by a plastic surgeon in New York, she stayed in shape, took terrific care of herself, and got Botox shots three times a year. She was a beautiful woman, although her face showed almost no expression, which was fine with her. Above all, she never wanted to be poor again, and as long as she and Fred stayed married, she knew she never would be.

She knew that he had cheated on her for most of their marriage, and she no longer cared. She hadn’t been in love with him in years. She could have sued him for a fortune in a divorce, but she liked the lifestyle he provided, the perks, and the status of being Mrs. Fred Dawson. She said jokingly to her friends that she had made a pact with the devil, and the devil in her life was Fred. She had no illusions about him, and no desire to change anything about the way she lived. She had her horses and her friends and went to visit her daughters in Chicago if she wanted to see them, and she and Fred had an unspoken arrangement that worked for both of them. There was an undeniable edge to her, born of the way things had worked out, and she didn’t have a high opinion of her husband, or men like him. She believed now that all men cheated, given half a chance to do so, and her husband certainly did, and had for years. He slept with secretaries, assistants, and women he met at cocktail parties, on business, or in elevators, and women he sat next to on planes. The only women he didn’t sleep with, she was certain, were her closest friends. At least he had the good taste not to do that. And most of them were too old for him. But he wouldn’t have done that to her anyway. He wasn’t a bad guy, just a cheater, with a weakness for twenty-­five-­year-­olds.

They had a civil relationship, based on a mutual arrangement that worked for both of them, even if it was devoid of warmth. She had forgotten what it was like to feel loved by a man, and no longer thought about it. She had everything else she wanted, materially, which by now was more important to her. She wouldn’t have given that up for anything in the world. They had recently bought a Picasso for their dining room, for which Fred had paid just under ten million dollars. They had one of the most important art collections in the West.

Jean’s one soft spot was how much she cared about her friends, Alyson and Stephanie. She loved the weekends they spent together, and talking to them every day. She had opportunities and luxuries they didn’t, but neither of them was jealous of her, and she knew it. They didn’t envy the state of her marriage either, or the emptiness of her relationship with Fred, but despite the choices she had made, there was a human side to Jean, and an honesty about herself that they all found endearing. There was no pretense to Jean, she loved being rich and Mrs. Fred Dawson, and it was worth anything to her to stay that way. It was almost like a career choice she had made. Corporate wife of multimillionaire, who was rapidly on his way to becoming a billionaire in the high-­tech world. Fred Dawson had a Midas touch, which men admired and envied, and the power he exuded was like an aphrodisiac to women. And Jean bought more Thoroughbreds, fabulous Impressionist paintings, and owned more Hermès and Louis Vuitton and Graff jewelry than almost any woman in the world. And yet she was perfectly capable of enjoying a weekend in Squaw Valley with their four best friends.

They had driven up from Hillsborough in Fred’s new Ferrari. And she always referred to the three couples as the Big Six. Fred had already been successful when they met, though not on the scale he was now. Even Jean admitted that the amount of money he had made in recent years was ridiculous, but it suited her just fine. She felt like a queen, and in her world she was. But her bright mind, quick wit, and honesty about herself and others kept her from being obnoxious. She could be harsh at times, born of disappointment about her marriage. But her friends loved her as she was, even if her husband didn’t. He was only attracted to young women, and no matter how great she looked, Jean had been too old to appeal to him for years. At fifty-­five, Fred preferred women under thirty, and considered them a status symbol to feed his ego, which Jean knew well. No matter how much plastic surgery she had or how many Botox shots, or how diligently she worked out with her trainer, Fred hadn’t been attracted to her in years. And Jean had no illusions about it. It took a strong ego for Jean to no longer be affected by it, and she availed herself his credit cards at every opportunity to keep her morale high. It worked for her.

Brad and Alyson Freeman were the opposite of Jean and Fred. After twelve years of marriage, they were still madly in love, and Alyson thought her husband walked on water. She had been a rep for a pharmaceutical company, and at thirty-­five she had begun to think she would be single forever, until her Cinderella story happened. Brad had noticed her when she was dropping drug samples off at his office. Still a bachelor at forty-­one, and enjoying every minute of it, he was the object of all his nurses’ fantasies, and Alyson’s as well. He was the successful orthopedic surgeon they all dreamed of, and he fell for Alyson like the proverbial ton of bricks. Eight months after they started dating, they were married, and Alyson’s life changed forever. She worked for a few more months until she got pregnant, and had been busy with their three children ever since. Twelve years later, she still talked about her husband like a modern-­day saint, grateful for everything he did for her, thrilled with the life they shared. He was a devoted, loving husband and a great father to their kids, and whenever Jean made one of her acerbic comments that all men were cheaters given the chance, Alyson defended Brad hotly and told her he had never so much as looked at another woman since they were married, which caused Jean to give her one of her wry smiles.

“I know Brad is perfect, and the most faithful man on the planet, but he’s still a guy,” she commented. And Alyson’s body still looked great, although she rarely had time to dress up anymore. She was too busy with their kids. But she worked out at the gym several times a week, and played tennis, and she loved their ski weekends with their friends. And even Stephanie teased her occasionally about how she idolized Brad and how in love with him she was. But it was sweet to see. They were obviously happy, Brad had done well, their kids were adorable and were eleven, six, and two, and they had a beautiful home in Ross, one of the most luxurious and affluent suburbs in Marin. And they really seemed to have an idyllic life. Brad was constantly loving and solicitous and was as in love with Alyson as she was with him. And he really was the perfect dad. He was their older son’s Cub Scout leader, took their daughter to her soccer games and ballet on the weekend, and had a “date” with Alyson at the best restaurants in San Francisco every Saturday night. And he was one of the most respected surgeons in his field. And at fifty-­three, he was still a very handsome man, and looked years younger than he was.

Each of the two couples represented an extreme on the scale of marital bliss. Alyson and Brad were madly in love, and Fred and Jean had settled for an arrangement that worked for both of them but, even to those who knew them well, appeared to be devoid of love.

Stephanie and Bill were somewhere in the middle, having had their ups and downs and a few hard knocks in their twenty-­six years of marriage. The first eight or nine years had been wonderful and everything Stephanie had hoped they would be, having babies, buying their first home in the city, Bill becoming a partner in the law firm he worked for, and doing well. They had met in college at Berkeley, while she was an undergraduate and Bill was finishing law school, and had married shortly after she graduated. She had gotten a terrific job at a very successful ad agency, which used her writing and marketing skills, and which she was excited about, until she had problems in her first pregnancy and was put on bed rest for five months. Michael, their first child, was born prematurely, and after that, with Bill’s encouragement, she never went back to work. She was a stay-­at-­home mom and enjoyed her life, until things started to get hectic as the kids got older, and there were times when she regretted not having kept her hand in the workforce, to have a sense of accomplishment of her own. She talked to Bill about it once their younger daughter Charlotte started school, but Bill was insistent that he preferred her being at home for their kids, so for several years now she had given up the dream of ever working again.

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Prodigal Son, Pegasus, A Perfect Life, Power Play, Winners, First Sight, Until the End of Time, The Sins of the Mother, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s book Pretty Minnie in Paris.

Brief Biography

San Francisco, California
Date of Birth:
August 14, 1947
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Educated in France. Also attended Parsons School of Design, 1963, and New York University, 1963-67

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Country 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is so good that I couldn't put it down ! You can put yourself into Stephanie spot and hope she takes the right road to a happy life . Donna in OH
FluffSmutandMurder More than 1 year ago
Every time I pick up a Danielle Steel novel I end up hating myself a little for wasting time reading her novels, but I’m a sucker. I loved some of her novels so much (Family Album, Daddy) that I keep hoping that THIS will be the magical novel that takes me back to her writing style from so long ago that I loved and I’ll be happy. And each time I am just disappointed. This is yet another tale of a beautiful, wealthy older woman who has an enviable life gets to be considered even more enviable by FINALLY finding her one true love (OTL) - who just also happens to be drop dead gorgeous and considerably wealthy in his own right. Of course her children are unhappy about this (aren’t they always?) but at least they are all adults and not living with her, so she doesn’t need to sacrifice her OTL. And then they ride off together into the sunset. What I loved: I think my favorite character ends up being the dog Stephanie adopts in the end. But of course, a regular mutt isn’t good enough for our heroine – she has to find a rare Chinese Hairless Crested! What I didn’t love: Do you have 10 minutes so I can vent? From the holier-than-thou “friends” Stephanie has to her ungrateful children, to the fact that the paparazzi doesn’t bother to haunt her outside of L.A., and that she can sneak some dog into a Las Vegas concert on New Year’s Eve – this is not the kind of fluff I was looking to read. What I learned: That I get stupider with every Danielle Steel novel I read because I never learn that she will never break her formula like she used to. Overall Grade: C-
665512meb More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Danielle Steel. Can't wait for her new book in September.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typical danielle steel story but still love her books glad i borrowed not worth the amount charged
RomanceLover More than 1 year ago
A light, quick, easy read. Very like able characters. My only issue with the plot was the "conflict" between the main characters.. The conflict was very weak and the resolution was awkward and didn't really address the reason for the conflict. Mostly very enjoyable. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
best ever !
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Anonymous 8 months ago
Loved the book
Anonymous 11 months ago
Good story
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book Highly recommend this great read. Kept me on my toes. Perfect keep writing this way. Thanks for a wonderful book!!!!
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Hi looking for a boyfriend.. ~ aryel.
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pnk- More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read and I read a lot!!! I never wanted it to end. What a great story that everyone can relate to. It even helped me learn about myself a little. I usually never comment on books but this one is fab.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lynngrier More than 1 year ago
The title Country and the book cover caught my attention and just had to read. I have not read Danielle's books for a while and this one really looked like a good read to me. It started a little slow for me but as I got more into the book and the characters I could not put this down. If you are a D.S. fan then you will fall in love with this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was so boring....I could have written in. Sometimes her books are just so awesome you cannot put them down. Other times, like this one, they are so predictable, they become boring and hard to read. I think she is just putting one book out after another and her substance is gone. Her new work cannot compare to the books she wrote when she first became an author. Now, they were amazing stories. Wish she would slow down the process and get her act together again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book I have read in a long time!