Echoes

( 69 )

Overview

Against a vivid backdrop of history, Danielle Steel tells a compelling story of love and war, acts of faith and acts of betrayal…and of three generations of women as they journey though years of loss and survival, linked by an indomitable devotion that echoes across time.

For the Wittgenstein family, the summer of 1915 was a time of both prosperity and unease, as the guns of war sound in the distance. But for eldest daughter Beata, it was also a summer of awakening. By the ...

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Echoes

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Overview

Against a vivid backdrop of history, Danielle Steel tells a compelling story of love and war, acts of faith and acts of betrayal…and of three generations of women as they journey though years of loss and survival, linked by an indomitable devotion that echoes across time.

For the Wittgenstein family, the summer of 1915 was a time of both prosperity and unease, as the guns of war sound in the distance. But for eldest daughter Beata, it was also a summer of awakening. By the glimmering waters of Lake Geneva, the quiet Jewish beauty met a young French officer and fell in love. Knowing that her parents would never accept her marriage to a Catholic, Beata followed her heart anyway. And as the two built a new life together, Beata’s past would stay with her in ways she could never have predicted. For as the years pass, and Europe is once again engulfed in war, Beata must watch in horror as Hitler’s terror threatens her life and family—even her eighteen-year-old daughter Amadea, who has taken on the vows of a Carmelite nun.

For Amadea, the convent is no refuge. As family and friends are swept away without a trace, Amadea is forced into hiding. Thus begins a harrowing journey of survival, as she escapes into the heart of the French Resistance. Here Amadea will find a renewed sense of purpose, taking on the most daring missions behind enemy lines. And it is here, in the darkest moments of fear, that Amadea will feel her mother’s loving strength—and that of her mother’s mother before her–as the voices of lost loved ones echo powerfully in her heart. And here, amid the fires of war, Amadea will meet an extraordinary man, British secret agent Rupert Montgomery. In Colonel Montgomery, Amadea finds a man who will help her discover her place in an unbreakable chain between generations…and between her lost family and her dreams for the future—a future she is only just beginning to imagine: a future of hope rooted in the rich soil of the past.

With the grace of a master storyteller, Danielle Steel breathes life into history, creating a bold, sweeping tale filled with unforgettable characters and breathtaking images—from the elegant rituals of Europe’s prewar aristocracy to the brutal desperation of Germany’s death camps. Drawing us into a vanished world, Echoes weaves an intricate tapestry of a mother’s love, a daughter’s courage…and the unwavering faith that sustained them—even in history’s darkest hour.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In this gripping historical panorama of three generations of European women, Danielle Steel departs from her usual subject matter without betraying her gift for close portraiture. Echoes traces the Wittgenstein family as they cope with two world wars; romance and personal tragedy; religious and social pressure; and the rise of Nazism. Beata Wittgenstein is a youthful Jewish beauty whose love for a French army officer compels her to defy her parents and abandon her faith. She raises her daughter, Amadea, as a Catholic; when she is a teenager, Amadea takes vows to become a Carmelite nun. But, during the years of the Third Reich, not even a convent can offer her sanctuary. As family and friends are swept away without trace, Amadea retreats into hiding, eventually joining the French Resistance.
Publishers Weekly
Europe in the throes of WWI and II serves as backdrop for this latest dose of melodrama from megabestseller Steel. Bookish, raven-haired beauty Beata Wittgenstein meets dashing French nobleman Antoine de Vallerand while on vacation in Switzerland and falls passionately in love. An affluent German Jew whose strict Orthodox parents forbid marriage outside the faith, Beata knows that a union with a Catholic from war-rival France is out of the question. But love trumps all, and shortly after returning to Germany, Beata defies her family, arranging to meet Antoine in Switzerland, where they marry. When WWI ends, the de Vallerands return to Germany and live happily with their young daughters, Amadea and Daphne. Antoine manages the stables at an old friend's castle, the perfect job for him, but just as all seems well, he's thrown from a headstrong horse. Meanwhile, Hitler's anti-Semitic sentiments spread across Europe, and Beata fears that even her half-Jewish daughters are no longer safe. Devout Catholic Amadea plans to become a Carmelite nun, but as the Third Reich's campaign of cruelty escalates, she finds a greater sense of purpose outside the convent walls. There's enough romance to keep readers going, but fans who prefer the glitz and glamour of Steel's contemporary settings may be nonplussed, and the abrupt disappearance of several major characters leaves giant holes in the narrative. (Oct. 26) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Not your typical Steel. During World War II, a Carmelite nun, daughter of a Jewish beauty who broke with her family to marry a Catholic, leaves the convent to join the French Resistance-and rediscovers her past. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Skipping the glamour and glitz this time around, Steel (most recently, Second Chance, p. 473) makes a well-meaning attempt at a serious WWII tale (with star-crossed lovers, of course). Steel begins her tale, however, in 1915, some months after the Great War has begun. Beata Wittgenstein, the daughter of an upper-class, patriotic German-Jewish family, falls in love with a man she meets by chance: Antoine de Vallerand, who's Catholic and French. While he's handsome, brilliant, and charming, Antoine is not at all the sort of suitor the Wittgensteins had in mind for their lovely, studious, dutiful daughter. The Vallerand family is equally outraged. Nonetheless, Beata converts to Catholicism to marry Antoine, though her father, Jacob, declares his daughter dead to him from that day on. She decides not to tell her children that she is Jewish-a fateful decision for her daughter Amadea. Years later, Antoine breaks his neck in a riding accident, dying instantly. The grieving Beata becomes deeply religious and urges Amadea to live up to her name and enter a convent, though she still knows nothing of her Jewish background. When the Wittgensteins are killed during Kristallnacht, Beata confesses everything to her other daughter, Daphne, but not Amadea, hoping to protect her. Later, as WWII rages, Amadea is singled out by an unknown informer, rounded up with other French Jews, and sent to Theriesenstadt. She escapes and joins the French Resistance (where she meets handsome Serge, underground leader). Then, burned and paralyzed by a railroad bomb, she is airlifted to England (where she meets handsome Rupert, who's looking after a houseful of war orphans). Will she ever walk again? Will she return to theconvent? Or marry Rupert?Get out your hankies, ladies. Steel put her all into this one. Agent: Mort Janklow/Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440240785
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 376,441
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 570 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Rogue, Honor Thyself, Amazing Grace, Bungalow 2, Sisters, H.R.H., 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.

Biography

When it comes to commanding bestseller lists, no writer can come close to Danielle Steel. Her work has been published in 47 countries, in 28 languages. She has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the author who has spent the most consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. She has not only published novels, but has written non-fiction, a book of poetry, and two series of children's books. Many of her books have been adapted for television movies, one of which (Jewels) was nominated for two Golden Globe awards. She has received the title of Chevalier of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government for her immense body of work. In short, to say that Steel is the single most popular living writer in the world is no overstatement.

Steel published her first novel, Going Home, when she was a mere 26 years old, and the book introduced readers to many of the themes that would dominate her novels for the next 30-odd years. It is an exploration of human relationships told dramatically, a story of the past's thrall on the present. Anyone familiar with Steel's work will recognize these themes as being close to her heart, as are familial issues, which are at the root of her many mega-sellers.

Although Steel has a reputation among critics as being a writer of fluffy, escapist fare, she never shies away from taking on dark subject matter, having addressed illnesses, incest, suicide, divorce, death, the Holocaust, and war in her work. Of course, even when she is handling unsavory topics, she does so entertainingly and with refinement. Her stories may often cross over into the realm of melodrama, but she never fails to spin a compelling yarn told with a skilled ear for dialogue and character, while consistently showing how one can overcome the greatest of tragedies. Ever prolific, she usually produces several books per year, often juggling multiple projects at the same time.

With all of the time and effort Steel puts into her work (she claims to sometimes spend as much as 20 hours a day at her keyboard), it is amazing that she still has time for a personal life. However, as one might assume from her work, family is still incredibly important to her, and she maintains a fairly private personal life. Fortunately for her millions of fans, she continues to devote more than a small piece of that life to them.

Good To Know

Along with her famed adult novels, Steel has also written two series of books for kids with the purpose of helping them through difficult situations, such as dealing with a new stepfather and coping with the death of a grandparent.

When Steel isn't working on her latest bestseller or spending time with her beloved family, she is devoting her time to one of several philanthropic projects to benefit the mentally ill, the homeless, and abused children.

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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


It was a lazy summer afternoon as Beata Wittgenstein strolled along the shores of Lake Geneva with her parents. The sun was hot and the air still, and as she walked pensively behind them, the birds and insects were making a tremendous racket. Beata and her younger sister Brigitte had come to Geneva with their mother for the summer. Beata had just turned twenty, and her sister was three years younger. It had been thirteen months since the Great War had begun the previous summer, and this year her father had wanted them out of Germany for their holiday. It was late August 1915, and he had just spent a month there with them. Both of her brothers were in the army and had managed to get leave to join them for a week. Horst was twenty-three and a lieutenant at divisional headquarters in Munich. Ulm was a captain in the 105th Infantry Regiment, part of the Thirtieth Division, attached to the Fourth Army. He had just turned twenty-seven during the week he spent with them in Geneva.

It had been nothing short of a miracle to get the entire family together. With the war seeming to devour all the young men in Germany, Beata worried constantly now about her brothers, as did their mother. Her father kept telling her that it would be over soon, but what Beata heard when she listened to her father and brothers talk was very different. The men were far more aware of the bleak times ahead than were the women. Her mother never spoke of the war to her, and Brigitte was far more upset that there were hardly any handsome young men to flirt with. Ever since she had been a little girl, all Brigitte had ever talked about was getting married. She had recently fallen in love with one of Horst's friends from university, and Beata had a strong suspicion that her beautiful younger sister would be getting engaged that winter.

Beata had no such interests or intentions. She had always been the quiet one, studious and far more serious, and she was much more interested in her studies than in finding a young man. Her father always said she was the perfect daughter. Their only moment of dissent had been when she had insisted she wanted to go to university like her brothers, which her father said was foolish. Although he himself was serious and scholarly, he didn't think that that degree of education was necessary for a woman. He told her he felt sure that in a short time she would be married and tending to a husband and children. She didn't need to go to university, and he hadn't allowed it.

Beata's brothers and their friends were a lively lot, and her sister was pretty and flirtatious. Beata had always felt different from them, set apart by her quiet ways and passion for education. In a perfect world, she would have loved to be a teacher, but when she said it, her siblings always laughed at her. Brigitte said that only poor girls became schoolteachers or governesses, and her brothers added that only ugly ones even thought about it. They loved to tease her, although Beata was neither poor nor ugly. Her father owned and ran one of the most important banks in Cologne, where they lived. They had a large handsome house in the Fitzengraben district, and her mother Monika was well known in Cologne, not only for her beauty but for her elegant clothes and jewelry. Like Beata, she was a quiet woman. Monika had married Jacob Wittgenstein when she was seventeen, and had been happy with him in the twenty-eight years since then.

The marriage had been arranged by their respective families, and was a good one. At the time their union had been the merger of two considerable fortunes, and Jacob had enlarged theirs impressively since then. He ran the bank with an iron fist and was almost clairvoyant about the banking business. Not only was their future secure, but so were those of their heirs. Everything about the Wittgensteins was solid. The only unpredictable element in their life now was the same one worrying everyone these days. The war was a great concern to them, particularly to Monika, with two sons in the army. The time they had shared in Switzerland had been a comforting respite, for the parents as well as the children.

Ordinarily, they spent their summers in Germany, at the seashore, but this year Jacob had wanted to get them all out of Germany for July and August. He had even spoken to one of the commanding generals whom he knew well, and gently asked the enormous favor of having both of his sons on leave and able to join them. The general had quietly arranged it. The Wittgensteins were that great rarity, a Jewish family that enjoyed not only great wealth but also enormous power. Beata was aware of it but paid little attention to her family's importance. She was far more interested in her studies. And although Brigitte sometimes fretted over the constraints their orthodoxy put on them, Beata, in her own quiet way, was deeply religious, which pleased her father. As a young man, he had shocked his own family by saying that he wanted to be a rabbi. His father had talked sense into him, and at the appropriate time, he had joined the family bank, along with his father, brothers, uncles, and grandfather before them. Theirs was a family steeped in tradition, and although Jacob's father had a great respect for the rabbinical life, he had no intention of sacrificing his son to it. And like the obedient son he was, Jacob went to work at the bank, and married shortly thereafter. At fifty, he was five years older than Beata's mother.

The entire family agreed that the decision to summer in Switzerland this year had been a good one. The Wittgensteins had many friends here, and Jacob and Monika had attended a number of parties, as had their children. Jacob knew everyone in the Swiss banking community and had gone to Lausanne and Zurich to see friends in those cities as well. Whenever possible, they took the girls with them. While Horst and Ulm were there, they spent as much time as they could enjoying their company. Ulm was leaving for the front when he got back, and Horst was stationed at divisional headquarters in Munich, which he seemed to find vastly amusing. In spite of the serious upbringing he'd had, Horst was something of a playboy. He and Brigitte had much more in common with each other than either of them did with Beata.

As she fell behind the others, walking slowly along the lake, her oldest brother Ulm hung back and fell into step beside her. He was always protective of her, perhaps because he was seven years older. Beata knew he respected her gentle nature and loving ways.

"What are you thinking about, Bea? You look awfully serious walking along by yourself. Why don't you join us?"

Her mother and sister were far ahead by then, talking about fashion and the men Brigitte had found handsome at the previous week's parties. The men in the family were talking about the only subjects that interested them—which these days were the war and banking. After the war, Ulm was going back to work at the bank again, as he had for four years before. Their father said that Horst was going to have to stop playing, become serious, and join them. Horst had promised that as soon as the war was over, he would. He was only twenty-two when war was declared the year before, and he had assured his father that when the war was over, he'd be ready. And Jacob had said several times recently that it was time for Ulm to get married. The one thing Jacob expected of his children, or anyone in his immediate circle actually, was that they obey him. He expected that of his wife as well, and she had never disappointed him. Nor had his children, with the exception of Horst, who had been dragging his feet about working when he went into the army. The last thing on Horst's mind at the moment was marriage. In fact, the only one interested in that prospect was Brigitte. Beata hadn't met a man who had swept her off her feet yet. Although she thought that many of her parents' friends' sons were handsome, many of the young ones seemed silly, and the older ones frightened her a bit and often seemed too somber. She was in no hurry to be married. Beata often said that if she married anyone, she hoped he would be a scholar, and not necessarily a banker. There was no way she could say that to her father, although she had confessed it to her mother and sister many times. Brigitte said that sounded boring. The handsome young friend of Horst's she had her eye on was as frivolous as she was, and from an equally important banking family. Jacob was intending to meet with the boy's father in September to discuss it, although Brigitte didn't know that. But so far, no suitor had emerged for Beata, nor did she really want one. She rarely spoke to anyone at parties. She went dutifully with her parents, wearing the dresses her mother chose for her. She was always polite to their hosts, and immensely relieved when it was time to go home. Unlike Brigitte, who had to be dragged away, complaining that it had been far too early to leave the party, and why did her family have to be so dull and boring. Horst was in complete agreement with her, and always had been. Beata and Ulm were the serious ones.

"Have you had fun in Geneva?" Ulm asked Beata quietly. He was the only one who made a serious effort to speak to her, and find out what she was thinking. Horst and Brigitte were far too busy playing and having fun to spend time on more erudite subjects with their sister.

"Yes, I have." Beata smiled shyly up at him. Even though he was her brother, Beata was always dazzled by how handsome he was, and how kind. He was a gentle person, and looked exactly like their father. Ulm was tall and blond and athletic, as Jacob had been in his youth. Ulm had blue eyes and features that often confused people, because he didn't look Jewish. Everyone knew they were, of course, and in the social world of Cologne, they were accepted in even the most aristocratic circles. Several of the Hohenlohes, and Thurn und Thaxis were childhood friends of their father's. The Wittgensteins were so established and so respected that all doors were open to them. But Jacob had also made it clear to all his children that when the time came for them to marry, the spouses they brought home would be Jewish. It was not even a subject for discussion; nor would any of them even think to question it. They were accepted for who and what they were, and there were many eligible young men and women in their own circles for the Wittgenstein children to choose from. When the time came for them to marry, they would marry one of them.

Ulm and Beata didn't even look remotely related as they walked along the lake. Her brothers and sister looked exactly like their father, they were all tall blondes with blue eyes and fine features. Beata looked like their mother, in total contrast to them. Beata Wittgenstein was a tiny, frail-looking, delicate brunette, with raven-dark hair and skin the color of porcelain. The only feature she shared with the others was enormous blue eyes, although hers were darker than her brothers' or Brigitte's. Her mother's eyes were dark brown, but other than that minor difference, Beata was the image of her mother, which secretly delighted her father. He was still so much in love with his wife after nearly twenty-nine years that just seeing Beata smile at him reminded him of when her mother was the same age in the early years of their marriage, and the similarity never failed to touch his heart. As a result, he had an enormous soft spot for Beata, and Brigitte frequently complained that Beata was his favorite. He let her do whatever she wanted. But what Beata wanted was harmless. Brigitte's plans were considerably racier than her older sister's. Beata was content to stay home and read or study, in fact, she preferred it. The only time her father had actually gotten annoyed with her was on one occasion when Jacob found her reading a King James version of the Bible.

"What is that about?" he asked with a stern expression, as he saw what she was reading. She had been sixteen at the time and was fascinated by it. She had read quite a lot of the Old Testament before that.

"It's interesting, Papa. The stories are wonderful, and so many things in it are exactly what we believe." She preferred the New Testament to the Old. Her father found it less than amusing and had taken it away from her.

He didn't want his daughter reading a Christian Bible, and he had complained about it to her mother, and suggested that Monika keep a closer eye on what she was reading. In fact, Beata read everything she could get her hands on, including Aristotle and Plato. She was a voracious reader and loved the Greek philosophers. Even her father had to admit that if she had been a man, she would have been an extraordinary scholar. What he wanted for her now, as he did for Ulm and even for the other two sometime soon, was for her to get married. He was beginning to fear that she would become spinsterish and too serious if she waited much longer. He had a few ideas he wanted to explore in that vein that winter, but the war had disrupted everything. So many men were serving in the army, and many young people they knew had been killed in the past year. The uncertainty of the future was deeply disturbing.

Her father thought that Beata would do well with a man who was older than she was. He wanted a mature man for Beata, a man who could appreciate her intellect and share her interests. He wasn't opposed to that idea for Brigitte either, who could use a strong hand to control her. Although he loved all his children, he was extremely proud of his oldest daughter. He considered himself a man of wisdom and compassion. He was the kind of person others never hesitated to turn to. Beata had a deep love and respect for him, as she did for her mother, although she secretly admitted to the others that their mother was easier to talk to, and a little less daunting than their father. Their father was as serious as Beata, and often disapproved of his younger daughter's frivolity.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

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(35)

4 Star

(17)

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(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 70 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    One of the best books i ever read

    Amazing and its not just about on person. Wonderful bok

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Echos, by Danielle Steel

    I was never "into" Danielle Steel at all, but a good friend, whose opinions I respect, told me that she had read "Echoes" and that it was very good. So off I went to Barnes & Noble, and purchased the book. I liked the way Ms. Steel interwove interesting characters with a piece of history. The characters were believable and I was able to feel sympathetic about them. Very good story with an ending I didn't anticipate but liked nonetheless.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    ECHOES

    I give this book 5 stars. I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoy Danielle Steele books very much and have read most of them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Echoes

    I couldn't put this book down to save my life! How the past comes out time and time again in this book relate a lot to another one of Danielle's book's called Kaleidoscope. Also a very good book. All in all, this book is awesome!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    what a great book

    i loved this book i could not put it down, the love stories are good and you fall in love with them, but all the time stories of the war and the horrors people really went through. at the end you fine peace, and not knowing what happens to the mum and sister is quite true to life there must be millons of people who never knew. wonderful emotional book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    Awsome!

    This book kept me interested and then some. Smiles, Tears and all emotions engulf you into this book. Its hard to keep me into a book and this one did it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2013

    I thought this was good it made me cry

    I thought this was good it made me cry

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Shinningkit

    She scampered off to result eight sadly

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Skystorm

    Well ok good bye *the tom walked away*~skystorm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    One of her best!

    Steel is at her very best with this novel. You follow so many characters you can't see the the outcome until the last page. She hasn't been at her best in a long time but this story was wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Have to revise...

    I wrote last night it was not my fav... DS book. This was a great story, well told, so discriptive and the way so much history was woven in... beautiful! There were a few things I wish could have turned out differntly, but a good read. I WOULD READ AGAIN. As far as a DS read goes for me not my fav, still recomend.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Couldnt put it down

    I loved this book! Except for me it left alot of open questions. Well worth the price and time to read it.

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  • Posted May 15, 2011

    Good storyline!

    If you like reading about WWII then you will like this book. I liked this book a lot but I give it 3 stars because of the ending. I personally felt like the ending was a little too sad. But thats just my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    A must Read!!!

    This was a great book. This is a must have from Danielle Steel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2007

    Great!

    I liked this book though it left some holes where other characters were and near the end she didnt get into as much detail about the characters feelings as much as i would i have liked. all and all it was a good book. i couldnt put it down.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2007

    must read, must in your book collection

    i had long given up on DS, but this book clearly showed me that she still has it in her to write good novels. i SO loved this book eventhough i would have preferred to know what happened to some of the important characters of the story. and like what some people commented on, when i got to the end, i had to check a few times if i was really at the last page of the book. just the same, i HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    intriging!

    This book was good! A little repetitive at time but i couldnt put it down! Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    great read

    Very well written fiction,I couldn't put it down for hours on end. As far as the question about tying up loose ends with the mother and sister,I think this rings true of that time,some just didn't know what happened to their families when they were taken away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2006

    an amazing book!

    this book is what got me into the holocaust books i know it is fiction but the holocaust did happen and millions had to go through it. this book was so amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    great, very real

    This book had me caught up in it from the minute I started it. It was great in telling the story of those time along with two great love stories. Unlike other reviews the vast disapperence of his mother and sister fits what happened during the WW times.

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