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A world-renowned actress falls victim to a terrifying explosion in Paris—and begins a courageous journey of survival, memory, and self-discovery in Danielle Steel’s mesmerizing new novel.
Carole Barber has come to Paris, with its rain-slick slate roofs and winding streets, to work on her novel—and to find herself after a lifetime in the spotlight. A legend of film and stage, Carole has set a standard of beauty and grace, devoting herself to ...
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A world-renowned actress falls victim to a terrifying explosion in Paris—and begins a courageous journey of survival, memory, and self-discovery in Danielle Steel’s mesmerizing new novel.
Carole Barber has come to Paris, with its rain-slick slate roofs and winding streets, to work on her novel—and to find herself after a lifetime in the spotlight. A legend of film and stage, Carole has set a standard of beauty and grace, devoting herself to her family and causes around the world. But on this cool November evening, as her taxi speeds into a tunnel just past the Louvre, a fiery instant of terror shatters hundreds of lives—and leaves Carole alone, unconscious and unidentified in a Paris emergency room.
At the Ritz, they wonder where their famous, incognito guest has gone. From California to London, Carole’s friends and family begin to make inquiries. Then comes a moment of shock as they all realize that Carole is far from home and fighting for her life.
In the days that follow, the paparazzi swarm. A mysterious stranger, a man famous in his own realm, quietly visits the hospital to see the woman he once loved and never forgot. Carole’s two grown children rush to her bedside, waiting and praying—until the miraculous begins to happen.…But as a woman who the whole world knows slowly awakens, she knows nothing of herself. Every detail must be pieced back together—from a childhood in rural Mississippi to the early days of her career, from the unintentional hurt inflicted on her daughter to a fifteen year-old secret love affair that went tragically wrong. But for Carole an extraordinary opportunity has arisen in a life-threatening crisis: a second chance to count her blessings, heal wounded hearts, recapture lost love… and to live a life that will truly honor others—beginning with herself.
A tale of survival and dignity, of small miracles and big surprises, Honor Thyself creates an unforgettable portrait of a public figure whose hopes, fears, and heartbreaks are as real as our own. Her courageous journey inspires us all.
“Faithful readers will be catapulted by Steel’s staccato pacing and straightforward prose.” —Booklist
Supreme spinner of romantic yarns, Steel (Amazing Grace, etc.), in her lamentable latest fable of female courage, fortune, fame and fashion, features Oscar-winning actress Carole Barber, who, at age 50 and trying to write a novel, travels to Paris, scene of a tragic love affair 15 years before. On her first night in the City of Light, she's badly injured during a terrorist attack, after which she is left with no memory and no choice but to rebuild her life with a new perspective on her career, family and personal relationships. Steel flirts with themes of motherhood, second chances and writing, never settling on any one for long as Carole discovers the importance of pursuing her own desires while being generous to others and of keeping the men she wants in her life close but not too close. The best part is Carole's rehabilitation; as she reacquaints herself with family and friends, Carole the patient shows the patience author Steel lacks to probe beneath the surface. Though the message is murky at best, Steel delivers a sympathetic heroine and a scene or two that makes the heartstrings quiver. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
It was a quiet, sunny November morning, as Carole Barber looked up from her computer and stared out into the garden of her Bel-Air home. It was a big, rambling stone mansion that she had lived in for fifteen years. The sunny greenhouse room she used as an office looked out over the rosebushes she had planted, the fountain, and the small pond that reflected the sky. The view was peaceful, and the house silent. Her hands had barely moved over the keyboard for the past hour. It was beyond frustrating. Despite a long and successful career in films, she was trying to write her first novel. Although she had written short stories for years, she had never published any. She had even tried her hand at a screenplay once. During their entire marriage, she and her late husband, Sean, had talked about making a movie together, and never got around to it. They were too busy doing other things, in their primary fields.
Sean was a producer-director, and she was an actress. Not just an actress, Carole Barber was a major star, and had been since she was eighteen. She had just turned fifty, two months before. By her own choice, she hadn't had a part in a movie for three years. At her age, even with her still remarkable beauty, good parts were rare.
Carole stopped working when Sean got sick. And in the two years since he'd died, she had traveled, visiting her children in London and New York. She was involved in a variety of causes, mostly relating to the rights of women and children, which had taken her to Europe several times, China, and underdeveloped countries around the world. She cared deeply about injustice, poverty, political persecution, and crimes against the innocent and defenseless. She had diligently kept journals of all her trips, and a poignant one of the months before Sean died. She and Sean had talked about her writing a book, in the last days of his life. He thought it was a wonderful idea, and encouraged her to start the project. She had waited until two years after his death to do it. She had been wrestling with writing it for the past year. The book would give her an opportunity to speak out about the things that mattered to her, and delve deep into herself in a way that acting never had. She wanted desperately to complete the book, but she couldn't seem to get it off the ground. Something kept stopping her, and she had no idea what it was. It was a classic case of writer's block, but like a dog with a bone, she refused to give up and let it go. She wanted to go back to acting eventually, but not until she wrote the book. She felt as though she owed that to Sean and herself.
In August, she had turned down what seemed like a good part in an important movie. The director was excellent, the screenwriter had won several Academy Awards for his earlier work. Her costars would have been interesting to work with. But when she read the script, it did absolutely nothing for her. She felt no pull to it at all. She didn't want to act anymore unless she loved the part. She was haunted by her book, still in its fetal stages, and it was keeping her from going back to work. Somewhere deep in her heart, she knew she had to do the writing first. This novel was the voice of her soul.
When Carole finally started the book, she insisted it wasn't about herself. It was only as she got deeper into it that she realized that in fact it was. The central character had many facets of Carole in her, and the more Carole got into it, the harder it was to write, as though she couldn't bear facing herself. She had been blocked on it again now for weeks. It was a story about a woman coming of age and examining her life. She realized now that it had everything to do with her, the life she'd led, the men she'd loved, and the decisions she had made in the course of her life. Every time she sat down at her desk to write it, she found herself staring into space, dreaming about the past, and nothing wound up on the screen of her computer. She was haunted by echoes of her earlier life, and until she came to terms with them, she knew she couldn't delve into her novel, nor solve its problems. She needed the key to unlock those doors first, and hadn't found it. Every question and doubt she'd ever had about herself had leaped back into her head with the writing. She was suddenly questioning every move she'd ever made. Why? When? How? Had she been right or wrong? Were the people in her life actually as she'd seen them at the time? Had she been unfair? She kept asking herself the same questions, and wondered why it mattered now, but it did. Immensely. She could go nowhere with the book, until she came up with the answers about her own life. It was driving her insane. It was as though by deciding to write this book, she was being forced to face herself in ways she never had before, ways she had avoided for years. There was no hiding from it now. The people she had known floated through her head at night, as she lay awake, and even in her dreams. And she awoke exhausted in the morning.
The face that came to mind most often was Sean's. He was the only one she was sure about, who he had been, and what he meant to her. Their relationship had been so straightforward and clean. The others weren't, not to that degree. She had questions in her mind about all of them but Sean. And he had been so anxious for her to write the book she had described to him, she felt she owed it to him, as a kind of final gift. And she wanted to prove to herself that she could do it. She was paralyzed by the fear that she couldn't, and didn't have it in her. She had had with the dream for more than three years now, and needed to know if she had a book in her or not.
The word that came to mind when she thought of Sean was peace. He was a kind, gentle, wise, loving man, who had been only wonderful to her. He had brought order to her life in the beginning, and together they had built a solid foundation for their life together. He had never tried to own or overwhelm her. Their lives had never seemed intertwined or entangled, instead they had traveled side by side, at a comfortable pace together, right until the end. Because of who he was, even Sean's death from cancer had been a quiet disappearance, a kind of natural evolution into a further dimension where she could no longer see him. But because of his powerful influence on her life, she always felt him near her. He had accepted death as one more step in the journey of his life, a transition he had to make at some point, like a wondrous opportunity. He learned from everything he did, and whatever he encountered on his path, he embraced with grace. In dying, he had taught her yet another intensely valuable lesson about life.
Two years after he had gone, she still missed him, his laughter, the sound of his voice, his brilliant mind, his company, their long quiet walks together along the beach, but she always had the feeling that he was somewhere nearby, doing his own thing, traveling on, and sharing some kind of blessing with her, just as he had when he was alive. Knowing and loving him had been one of her greatest gifts. He had reminded her before he died that she still had much to do, and urged her to go back to work. He wanted her to make movies again, and write the book. He had always loved her short stories and essays, and over the years she had written dozens of poems to him, which he treasured. She had had all of them bound in a leather folder several months before he died, and he had spent hours reading them over and over again.
She hadn't had time to start the book before he died. She was too busy taking care of him. She had taken a year off to spend time with him, and nurse him herself when he got really sick, particularly after chemo and in the last few months of his illness. He had been valiant till the end. They had gone for a walk together the day before he died. They hadn't been able to walk far, and they had said very little to each other. They had walked side by side, holding hands, sat down frequently when he got tired, and they had both cried as they sat and watched the sunset. They both knew the end was near. He had died the following night, peacefully, in her arms. He had taken one last long look at her, sighed with a gentle smile, closed his eyes, and was gone.
Because of the way he'd died, with such elegant acceptance, afterward it had been impossible to be overwhelmed with grief when she thought about him. As best one could be, she was ready. They both were. What she felt in his absence was an emptiness she still felt now. And she wanted to fill that void with a better understanding of herself. She knew the book would help her do that, if she could ever get a handle on it. She wanted to at least try to measure up to him, and the faith he'd had in her. He had been a constant source of inspiration to her, in her life and her work. He had brought her calm and joy, and a kind of serenity and balance.
In many ways, it had been a relief for her not to work in films for the past three years. She had worked so hard for so long that even before Sean got sick she knew she needed a break. And she knew that time off for introspection would eventually bring deeper meaning to her acting as well. She had made some important movies over the years, and had been in some major commercial hits. But she wanted more than that now, she wanted to bring something to her work that she never had before. The kind of depth that only came with wisdom, seasoning, and time. She wasn't old at fifty, but the years since Sean got sick and died had deepened her in ways she knew she would never have experienced otherwise, and she knew that inevitably that would show on the screen. And if she mastered it, surely in her book as well. This book was a symbol of ultimate adulthood for her, and freedom from the last ghosts of her past. She had spent so many years pretending to be other people through her acting, and appearing to be who the world expected her to be. Now was the time in her life when she wanted to be unfettered by other people's expectations, and finally be herself. She belonged to no one now. She was free to be whoever she wanted to be.
Her years of belonging to a man had been over long before she met Sean. They had been two free souls, living side by side, enjoying each other with love and mutual respect. Their lives had been parallel, and in perfect symmetry and balance, but never enmeshed. It was the one thing she had feared when they got married, that it would get complicated, or he would try to "own" her, that they might somehow stifle or drown each other. That had never happened. He had assured her it wouldn't, and had kept his promise. She knew that her eight years with Sean were something that only occurred once in a lifetime. She didn't expect to find that with anyone else. Sean had been unique.
She couldn't imagine herself falling in love, or wanting to be married again. She had missed him for these past two years, but had not mourned him. His love had sated her so totally that she was comfortable now even without him. There had been no agony or pain in their love for each other, although like all couples, they'd had resounding arguments now and then, and then laughed about them afterward. Neither Sean nor Carole was the kind of person to hold a grudge, and there wasn't a shred of malice in either of them, or even in their fights. In addition to loving each other, they had been best friends.
They met when Carole was forty, and Sean was thirty-five. Although five years younger than she was, he had set an example for her in many ways, mostly in his views about life. Her career was still going strong, and she was making more movies than she wanted to at the time. For so many years before that, she had been driven to follow the path of an ever-more-demanding career. They met five years after she had moved back to Los Angeles from France, and she'd been trying to spend more time with her children, always pulled between her kids, and increasingly alluring movie roles. She had spent the years after her return from France without a serious involvement with a man. She just didn't have the time, or the desire. There had been men she'd gone out with, usually for a brief time, some of them in her business, mostly directors or writers, others who were in different creative fields, art, architecture, or music. They had been interesting men, but she'd never fallen in love with any of them, and was convinced she never would again. Until Sean.
They had met at a conference they'd both gone to, to discuss the rights of actors in Hollywood, and had been on a panel together about the changing role of women in films. It had never bothered either of them that he was five years younger than she was. It was completely irrelevant to both of them. They were kindred spirits, regardless of age. A month after they met, they had gone to Mexico together for a weekend. He had moved in three months later, and never left. Six months after he moved in, despite Carole's reluctance and misgivings, they were married. Sean had convinced her it was the right thing for both of them. He was absolutely correct, although at first Carole had been adamant about not wanting to get married again. She was convinced that their careers would somehow interfere and cause conflicts between them, and impact their marriage. As Sean had promised, her fears had been unfounded. Their union seemed blessed.
Posted May 30, 2009
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Posted May 21, 2011
Carole loses her memory and most of the story is about getting her memory back. It was okay. Not her best.... I wish I hadn't bought it. It was just okay.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2010
Posted December 29, 2009
I'm a Steel fan, and I've read many of her books. Honor Thyself was truly one of my favorites. The characters touched me. And I loved Carole. She's one of my all-time favorite Steel characters. It did not end exactly how I wanted it too, but it was still very, very good. I highly recommend anyone to read this book. Especially Danielle Steel fans.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2009
I loved the characters and the way the family drew together in tough times. I've enjoyed Danielle Steel for years and she has proven again what a wonderful story teller she is.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2009
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I would not call this my favorite book ever, but I enjoyed it. The character were great. I liked them very much. I was really into the book till the last couple of chapters. I felt the book could have ended alot sooner. I felt this would have been a much better book had it been 70 pages less. Not Danielle Steel's best, but was worth reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2009
This story was very thought provoking on living life to the fullest and enjoy every minute. It is a story of great courage and second chances. It has romance, drama, and even some comedy. Great read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2009
I have read all of her earlier books and found them to be a great escape, however Ms. Steele's newest writings are the same over and over. Tried to get into this novel and gave up and forwarded on to my sister in law. Glad I got this book on the bargain table.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2009
If your already a fan, you'll like this book. I'm pleased that it did have some more lightness to it than a lot of hers has been. She has gotten away from her lightness; from the early work.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 20, 2009
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Posted February 15, 2009
This book was a good read for a rainy day. It is a story with surprises and miracles. The main character goes through a terrorist experience which brings her life back in a complete circle. The plot encompasses how the rich and famous must cope with the everyday occurrences just like the average populations around them.<BR/>It shows how a family comes together to show love and devotion to their mother, wife, and friends. It also shows how love conquers all in the end.<BR/>The tragedy of a terrorist attack brings hope, awareness, and love.<BR/>I recommend reading this book for just pure enjoyment.<BR/><BR/>Cherry BlossomWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2008
The story was touching. Carole Barber is a character Danielle Steel readers will love. Each chapter you feel more and more hopeful for a good outcome. I found myself accually rooting for. Outstanding!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2008
I got the audiobook, which turned out to be a huge mistake. The narrator was terrible, you could hear him actually breathing as he narrated. Plus, I found it was so slow-moving, that I couldn't get past the first disc. Maybe I will try reading the book in the future. But for now, I'm on to another audiobook in my car. I still like her books, but this one disappointed me. A book should be able to grab you and pull you in in the beginning chapters!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2008
I just finished reading Honor Thyself this morning and I thought that it was far better than Amazing Grace which I could not bring myself to finish (because it was quite boring). I thought that this book was interesting and I found myself rooting for the main character Carole. However, I agree that the best Danielle Steel novels are those that are set around a significant time period such as WWII, the sinking of the Titanic, etc. I can't wait for Steel to do another novel set during a major historical event. Her writing really seems to leap off the pages in these types of books!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2008