Five Days in Paris

( 34 )

Overview

As president of a major pharmaceutical empire, Peter Haskell has everything. Power, position, a career and a family, which mean everything to him, and for which he has sacrificed a great deal. Compromise has been key in Peter Haskell's life, and integrity is the base on which he lives.

Olivia Thatcher is the wife of a famous senator. She has given to her husband's ambitions and career until her soul is bone dry. She is trapped in a web of duty and obligation, married to a man ...

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Five Days in Paris: A Novel

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Overview

As president of a major pharmaceutical empire, Peter Haskell has everything. Power, position, a career and a family, which mean everything to him, and for which he has sacrificed a great deal. Compromise has been key in Peter Haskell's life, and integrity is the base on which he lives.

Olivia Thatcher is the wife of a famous senator. She has given to her husband's ambitions and career until her soul is bone dry. She is trapped in a web of duty and obligation, married to a man she once loved and no longer even knows. When her son died, a piece of Olivia died too.

Accidentally, on the night of a bomb threat, they meet in Paris, at the Ritz. Their totally different lives converge for one magical moment in the Place Vendôme, as Olivia carefully, silently, steps out of her life and walks away. As the two strangers meet, their lives become briefly enmeshed. In a café in Montmartre, their hearts are laid bare. Peter, once so sure of his path, so certain of his marriage and success, but suddenly faced with his professional future in jeopardy. Olivia, no longer sure of anything except that she can't go on anymore.

When Olivia disappears, only Peter suspects that it may not be foul play. And if he finds her again, where will they go from there? Five days in Paris is all they have. They go back to their separate lives, but nothing is the same. At home again, they both must pursue their lives, despite challenges, compromise, and betrayal. Everything they believe is put on the line, until they each realize they must stand fast against compromise and face life's challenges head-on.

Steel's 36th novel is an unforgettable, contemporary story about honor and commitment, love and integrity, that will change readers' lives forever. The president of a major pharmaceutical company and the unhappy wife of a famous senator meet under dire circumstances in Paris, and everything in which they believe is put on the line.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
FIVE DAYS IN PARIS Danielle Steel. Dell, $6.50 ISBN 0-44022284-2. Steel's 36th novel, an 18-week PW bestseller, is a tale of l'amour fou between two Americans in Paris who are married to other people. Feb.
Library Journal
No word yet on the plot of the latest by the predictable but fruitful author of the best-selling Lightning. Look for a mid-November on-sale date.
Kathleen Hughes
There's nothing new or remarkable in the thirty-sixth novel by our premier movie-of-the-week maven. Poor yet urbane, wholesome, and, of course, handsome Wisconsin farm boy Peter Haskell marries Kate Donovan, a beautiful East Coast blue blood with a hidden, vicious cold streak. Twenty years down the line, Peter, while on a business trip to Paris, meets mysterious, beautiful, and noble Olivia. They fall madly in love and realize that they are soul mates, but because of their incredibly forthright characters, they must return to their loveless marriages. Of course, we know that they must eventually be together, and before you know it, Olivia and Peter bravely risk everything for their one chance at true love. Steel's fans will not be disappointed with this novel of middle-age love, second chances, and nearly missed opportunities, although it could have been entitled "Five Days in Cleveland" for all we hear about Paris.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440222842
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 938,888
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 560 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, Toxic Bachelors, Miracle, 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

The weather in Paris was unusually warm as Peter Haskell's plane landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The plane taxied neatly to the gate, and a few minutes later, briefcase in hand, Peter was striding through the airport. He was almost smiling as he got on the customs line, despite the heat of the day and the number of people crowding ahead of him in line. Peter Haskell loved Paris.

He generally traveled to Europe four or five times a year. The pharmaceutical empire he ran had research centers in Germany, Switzerland, and France, and huge laboratories and factories in England. It was always interesting coming over here, exchanging ideas with their research teams, and exploring new avenues of marketing, which was his real forte. But this time it was far more than that, far more than just a research trip, or the unveiling of a new product. He was here for the birth of "his baby." Vicotec. His life'sdream. Vicotec was going to change the lives and the outlook of all people with cancer. It was going to dramatically alter maintenance programs, and the very nature of chemotherapy the world over. It would be Peter's one major contribution to the human race. For the past four years, other than his family, it was what he had lived for. And undeniably, it was going to make Wilson-Donovan millions. More than that, obviously, their studies had already projected earnings in the first five years to well over a billion dollars. But that wasn't the point for Peter. The point was life, and the quality of those lives, severely dimmed, they were flickering candles in the dark night of cancer. And Vicotec was going to help them. At first, it had seemed like an idealistic dream, but now they werejust inches from final victory, and it gave Peter a thrill every time he thought of what was about to happen.

And so far, their most recent results had been perfect. Their meetings in Germany and Switzerland had gone brilliantly. The testing done in their laboratories there was even more rigorous than what had been done in the States. They were sure now. It was safe. They could move aheadto Phase One Human Trials, as soon as the FDA approved it, which meant givinglow doses of the medication to a select number of willing, well-informedsubjects, and seeing how they fared.

Wilson-Donovan had already submitted their application tothe FDA in January, months before, and based on the information they weredeveloping now, they were going to ask for Vicotec to be put on the "FastTrack," pressing ahead with human trials of the drug, and eventually earlyrelease, once the FDA saw how safe it was and Wilson-Donovan proved it to them. The"Fast Track" process was used in order to speed the various steps towardapproval, in the case of drugs to be used in life-threatening diseases. Oncethey got approval from the FDA, theywere going to start with a group of one hundred people who would signinformed consent agreements, acknowledging the potential dangers of thetreatment. They were all so desperately ill, it would be their only hope, andthey knew it. The people who signed up for experiments like this were gratefulfor any help available to them.

Wilson-Donovan wanted to move ahead as quickly as possible to clinicaltrials on patients, which was why it was so important to test Vicotec'ssafety nowbefore the FDA hearings in September, which would hopefully put it on the "FastTrack." Peter was absolutely sure that the testing being concluded by Paul-Louis Suchard, the head of the laboratory in Paris, would only confirm the good news he had just been given in Geneva.

"Holiday or business, monsieur?" The customs officer looked unconcerned as he stamped Peter's passport, and barely glanced up at him after looking at the picture. He had blue eyes and dark hair and looked younger than his forty-four years. He had fine features, he was tall, and most people would have agreed that he was handsome.

"Business," he said almost proudly. Vicotec. Victory. Salvation for every human being struggling with the agonies of chemotherapy and cancer.

The agent handed Peter his passport, and Peter picked up his bag and walked outside to find a taxi. It was a gloriously sunny June day, and with nothing left to do in Geneva, Peter had come to Paris a day early. He loved it here, and it would be easy to find something to do, even if it was just a long walk alongthe Seine. Or maybe Suchard would agree to meet him sooner than he'd planned, even though it was Sunday. It was still early in the day, and he hadn't had time to call Suchard yet. Although Suchard was very French, very serious, and more than a little rigid, Peter was going to call from the hotel and see if he was free, and willing to change their meeting.

Peter had learned to speak some French over the years, although he conducted all of his business with Suchard in English. Peter Haskell had learned a lot of things since he left the Midwest. It was obvious, even to the customs man at Charles de Gaulle, that Peter Haskell was an important man, of considerable intelligence and sophistication. He was cool and smooth and strong, and had an air of assurance about him. At forty-four, he was the president of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He was not a scientist, but a marketing man, as was Frank Donovan, the chairman. And somewhat coincidentally, eighteen years before, Peter Haskell had married Frank's daughter. It hadn't been a "smart move" on his part, or a calculated one. In Peter's eyes, it had been an accident, a quirk of fate, and one which he had fought against for the first six years he knew her.

Peter didn't want to marry Kate Donovan. He didn't even know who she was when they met, when she was nineteen and he was twenty, at the University of Michigan. At first, she was just a pretty blonde sophomore he met at a mixer, but after two dates, he was crazy about her. They'd been going out for five months before someone made a crack, and suggested that he was a hell of a smart guy for going out with pretty little Katie. And then he'd explained it. She was the sole heiress to the Wilson-Donovan fortune, the biggest pharmaceutical firm in the country. Peter had been incensed, and he had raged at Katie for not telling him, with all the furor and naÈvet* of a boy of twenty.

"How could you? Why didn't you tell me?" He stormed at her.

"Tell you what? Was I supposed to warn you who my father was? I didn't think you'd care." She'd been desperately hurt by his attack, and more than a little frightened he'd leave her. She knew how proud he was, and how poor his parents were. He had told her that only that year they'd finally bought the dairy farm where his father had worked all his life. It was mortgaged to the hilt, and Peter was constantly worried that the business would fail, and he'd have to give up school and go home to Wisconsin to help them.

"You knew perfectly well I'd 'care.' What am I supposed to do now?" He knew better than anyone that he couldn't compete in her world, that he didn't belong there, and never would, and Katie could never live on a farm in Wisconsin. She had seen too much of the world, and she was far too sophisticated even if she didn't seem to know it. The real trouble was that he felt he didn't belong in his own world most of the time either. No matter how hard he tried to be "one of them" back home, there was always something different and much more big city about him. He had hated living on a farm when he was a kid, and dreamed of going to Chicago or New York, and being part of the business world. He hated milking cows, and stacking bales of hay, and endlessly cleaning manure out of the stables. For years, after school, he had helped his father at the dairy farm he ran, and now his father owned it. And Peter knew what that would mean. Eventually, he would have to go home, when he finished college, and help them. He dreaded it, but he wasn't looking for an easy out. He believed in doing what you were supposed to do, in living up to your responsibilities, and not trying to take any shortcuts. He had always been a good boy, his mother said, even if it meant doingthings the hard way. He was willing to work for everything he wanted.

But once Peter knew who Katie was, being involved with her seemed wrong to him. No matter how sincere he was, it looked like an easy way out, a quick trip to the top, a shortcut. No matter how pretty she was, or how in love with her he thought he might have been, he knew he couldn't do anything about it. He was so adamant about not taking advantage of her that they broke up about two weeks after he found out who she was, and nothing she said to him changed that. She was distraught, and he was far more upset over losing her than he ever told her. It was his junior year, and in June he went home to help his father in Wisconsin. And by the end of the summer, he decided to take a year off to help him get the business off the ground. They'd had a hard winter the year before, and Peter thought he could turn it around, with some new ideas and new plans he'd learned in college.

He could have too, except that he got drafted and sent to Vietnam. He spent a year close to Da Nang, and when he re-upped for a second tour, they sent him to work for Intelligence in Saigon. It was a confusing time for him. He was twenty-two years old when he left Vietnam, and he had found none of the answers hewanted. He didn't know what to do with the rest of his life, he didn't want to go back to work on his father's farm, but he thought he should. His mother had died while he was in Vietnam, and he knew how hard that had been for his father.

He had another year of college left to do, but he didn't want to go back to the University of Michigan again, he somehow felt he had outgrown it. And he was confused about Vietnam too. The country he had wanted to hate, that had so tormented him, he had come to love instead, and he was actually sorry when he left it. He had a couple of minor romances there, mostly with American military personnel, and one very beautiful young Vietnamese girl, but everything was so complicated, and relationships were inevitably affected by the fact that no one expected to live much past tomorrow. He had never contacted Katie Donovan again, though he'd had a Christmas card from her that had been forwarded to him from Wisconsin. He had thought about her a lot at first in Da Nang, but it just seemed simpler not to write her. What could he possibly say to her? Sorry you're so rich and I'm so poor . . . have a great life in Connecticut, I'm going to be shoveling manure in a dairy farm for the rest of my life . . . see ya. . . .

But as soon as he got back, it was obvious to all of them in Wisconsin that once again he just didn't fit, and even his father urged him to look for a job in Chicago. He found one easily in a marketing firm, went to school at night, got his degree, and had just started his first job when he went to a party given by an old friend from Michigan, and ran into Katie. She had transferred and was living in Chicago by then too, and she was about to graduate from Northwestern. The first time he saw her again, she took his breath away. She was prettier than ever. It had been almost three years since he'd seen her. And it stunned him to realize that even after three years of forcing himself to stay away from her, seeing her could still make everything inside him tremble.

"What are you doing here?" he asked nervously, as though she were only supposed to exist in his memories of his school days. She had haunted him for months after he left college, and especially when he first went into the service. But he had long since relegated her to the past, and expected her to stay there. Seeing her suddenly catapulted her right back into the present.

"I'm finishing school," she said, holding her breath as she looked at him. He seemed taller andthinner, his eyes were bluer and his hair even darker than she remembered. Everything about him seemed sharper and more exciting than her endless memories of him. She had never forgotten. He was the only man who had ever walked away from her, because of who she was, and what he thought he could never give her. "I hear you were in Vietnam," she said softly, and he nodded. "It must have been awful." She was so afraid to scare him away again, to make some terrible wrong move. She knew how proud he was, and just looking at him, she knew that he would never come near her. And he watched her too. He was wondering what she had become, and what she wanted from him. But she seemed so innocent to him, and fairly harmless, despite her seemingly ominous background, and the threat he had convinced himself she presented. In his eyes, she had been a threat to his integrity, and an untenable link between a past he could no longer live, and a future he wanted, but had no idea how to accomplish. Having seen so much more of the world since they had last met, looking at her now, he could barely remember what he had once been so afraid of. She didn't seem so daunting to him now, she seemed very young, and very naive, and irresistibly attractive.

They talked for hours that night, and he took her home eventually. And then, although he knew he shouldn't have, he called her. It seemed so easy at first, he even told himself they could just be friends, which neither of them believed. But all he knew was that he wanted to be near her. She was bright and fun, and she understood the crazy things he felt, about how he didn't fit anywhere, and what he wanted to do with his life. Eventually, far, far down the road, he wanted to change the world, or at the very least make a difference. She was the only person in his life then who understood that. He had had so many dreams back then, so many good intentions. And now, twenty years later, Vicotec was bringing all those old dreams to fruition.

Peter Haskell hailed a cab at Charles de Gaulle, and the driver put his bag in the trunk, and nodded when Peter told him where he was going. Everything about Peter Haskell suggested that he was a man in command, a man of impressive stature. And yet, if you looked in his eyes, you saw kindness, and strength, integrity, a warm heart, and a sense of humor. There was more to Peter Haskell than just well-tailored suits, the starched white shirt and Herm*s tie he wore, and the expensive briefcase.

"Hot, isn't it?" Peter asked on the way into town, and the driver nodded. He could hear from the accent in his French that he was American, but he spoke it adequately, and the driver answered him in French, speaking slowly, so Peter could understand him.

"It's been nice for a week. Did you come from America?" the driver asked with interest. People responded to Peter that way, they were drawn to him, even if they normally wouldn't have been. But the fact that he spoke French to him impressed the driver.

"I came from Geneva," Peter explained, and they fell silent again, as he smiled to himself, thinking of Katie. He always wished that she would travel with him, but she never did. At first, the children were young, and later she was too caught up in her own world and her myriad obligations. She hadn't taken more than one or two business trips with him over the years. Once to Lond


From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2013

    two lost souls finding their way back powerful and most be read.

    two lost souls finding their way back powerful and most be read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A MUST READ!

    This is my first Danielle Steel book and i so love it! Peter has a wife,kids and a great responsibility of being the Wilson-Donovan's President. On the other hand, Olivia, wife of a Senator from Virginia and has roots of a politician.

    Met each other in Paris, and was surprised that they have a lot of things in common. Most importantly,they both understand each other and what they are going through. While in Paris with Olivia, Peter discovered that being married to Katie for many years made him realize that he was unhappy. Doing things just to please her and being a good son-in-law to Frank. Olivia however,decided to leave the Senator just as what she always wanted.

    This book meant to tell us that once we stand for one thing in life,we should be confident and brave enough to face all the consequences in line to achieve the real happiness we all seek.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Mediocre

    Not her best by any means. I was bored and found myself having to go back and read parts over. I enjoy getting lost in a book and this did nothing for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Recommend

    Great story love all her books

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    LOVED!!

    I absolutely loved this book! I've never read any of Danielle Steel's other books, but now I cant wait to start the next one! I was so caught up in Five Days that I was sad to see it end; it was as though a part of me was gone :( . Awesome book! Great love story! I would recommend it to any woman! Even a great book for teenagers too.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Five Days in Paris is reprint of a mid 1990s entertaining romance

    Wilson-Donovan President Peter Haskell is in Paris staying at the Ritz to review the test of Vicotec, a drug that will make the company billions but more important help people with cancer. The proud honest family man loves his wife and three children, but takes pride in his integrity as the head of a large international pharmaceutical firm.

    Olivia Thatcher's husband Anderson is the U.S. Senator from Virginia. Her spouse has plans for the presidency so though she has been his biggest supporter through the years she knows she will be under a microscope so must be even more diligent. Currently Olivia is staying at the Paris Ritz.

    At the Montmartre, Peter and Olivia meet. They know almost at first sight they should have been together. However, Anderson has offered Olivia a million a year to remain at his side and he has a loving wife and three sons but also could make billions if he lies about the test results

    Five Days in Paris is reprint of a mid 1990s entertaining romance with some suspense as to what the lead couple will do re family and the firm. The thin story line follows the anticipated path without a detour, but fans of Danielle Steel will enjoy the ride.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2005

    OK

    If you are a Steel fan you will undoubtedly like this one. DS certainly has her own style and repeats it in every novel. This story line was well planned out and kept your attention. My only problem with her writing is that she gives us MORE of how everyone feels in too much detail and is too wordy. If you LIKE that then its OK. The BEST thing is that she writes DECENT novels even if she doesn't mention God.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2003

    The Good things in Life!

    I loved this book! I just Couldn't put it down! I love Danielle Steel and her novels! They are great to curl up with on a rainy day. How two peoples lives can be intwined into each others to create the perfect but out of place romance is a wonderful Story! It Definetly is a MUST READ. IF YOU LIKE ROMANCE YOU'LL LOVE THIS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2001

    A Wonderful Story!!!

    This is a wonderful story about Olivia Thatcher and Peter Haskell. Each character has their own life in different cities, but meet one night in Paris to discover they have more in common than one would expect. It is a wonderful story about the lives of these two people and how they will finally find the true happiness they deserve. It is a very fast reading book and also one the is hard to put down. A true joy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2000

    A GOOD SHORT STORY

    This was my first D.S book. It is a cute short story and very romantic. Once again anouther book that you just cant put down. I really enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2000

    It's a good a book it

    I am a Danielle Steel reader and I thought this was a good book. I loved some parts. I hated other parts. I recommend this book to almost everyone.

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