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The Kiss

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In her 53rd bestselling novel, Danielle Steel explores how a single shattering moment can change lives forever. The Kiss is at once a moving testament to the fragility of life and a breathtaking story about the power of love to heal, to free, to transform, and to make broken spirits whole.

On a warm June evening, a red double-decker bus, full of passengers, speeds down a ...
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Kiss

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Overview

In her 53rd bestselling novel, Danielle Steel explores how a single shattering moment can change lives forever. The Kiss is at once a moving testament to the fragility of life and a breathtaking story about the power of love to heal, to free, to transform, and to make broken spirits whole.

On a warm June evening, a red double-decker bus, full of passengers, speeds down a London street. A few blocks away, a man and a woman climb into a limousine, reveling in a magical evening of dancing and champagne.

As their driver pulls into an intersection, the couple shares their first, searching kiss. For a moment, etched in time, all stands still — until, in a flash of metal and glass, their limousine is struck at full speed, crushed under the bus’s tremendous weight. And a long journey begins — toward healing, toward hope, toward dreams of an infinite future....

Isabelle Forrester is the wife of a prominent Parisian banker who has long since shut her out of his heart. For lonely years, Isabelle has lived a life of isolation, pouring her passions into caring for her desperately ill son, Teddy, and into making their Paris home as happy as possible for her teenage daughter, Sophie.

Isabelle allows herself one secret pleasure: a long-distance friendship by telephone with an American man, a Washington power broker who travels in the highest circles of politics and who, like Isabelle, is trapped in an empty marriage.

To Bill Robinson, Isabelle is a godsend, a woman of extraordinary beauty and intellectual curiosity — a kindred spirit who touches him across the miles with her warmth and gentle empathy. Their relationship is agift, a lifeline that sustains them both through the heartache of marriages they cannot leave and will not betray.

Agreeing to meet for a few precious, innocent days in London, Isabelle and Bill find their friendship changing. Then, amid the sudden crash of steel against steel, they are thrust onto a new path, a path fraught with pain but also with possibility.

Now, inside the cool, sterile wards of a London hospital, Isabelle and Bill cling to life, their bodies shattered almost beyond repair. In the days and weeks that follow, they slowly, painfully traverse a road to recovery littered with challenges of the body, spirit, and heart.

Together, they must find the strength not only to embrace life again but to face what they have left behind. For Isabelle, a loveless marriage turns into a brutal power struggle. For Bill, a time of healing exposes wounds that cut deeper than steel and realities that will test him to his core. For both, a tangle of changing relationships and the tragedy of another loss conspire to separate them once again. And this time they could lose each other forever.

In a novel that is as compelling as it is compassionate, Danielle Steel weaves a story of courage in the face of unimaginable loss. With the grace of a master storyteller, she explores the strength it takes to conquer our greatest fears, showing us how the toughest choices can yield the most unexpected rewards ... and how the longest, most winding journeys can begin with a single kiss.

This limited edition is leatherbound and features gilt-edged pages.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The undisputed Queen of Romance explores the ways in which a single shattering moment can change lives forever in her 53rd novel, a moving testament to the fragility of life and a breathtaking story about the power of love to heal, free, and transform us.
Publishers Weekly
First kisses are often explosive, but not all are quite as disaster-ridden as the one that propels Steel's latest romance. Isabelle Forrester, elegant and refined wife of cold and indifferent Paris-based banker Gordon Forrester, has spent most of her marriage caring for her desperately ill teenage son, Teddy. Isolated in her Paris home, Isabelle's only comfort is her long-distance friendship with millionaire Washington power broker Bill Robinson, also stuck in an empty marriage. Isabelle and Bill, kindred spirits satisfied with their chaste relationship, agree to meet for a few platonic days in London. Following an enchanting evening on the town, they head back to their hotel in Bill's limousine. As the couple share their first, probing kiss, their car is struck by a speeding, double-decker bus. The horrendous crash kills many and leaves both Isabelle and Bill in critical condition. The long and arduous road to recovery is filled with both physical and emotional pain as Bill must make decisions about his crumbling marriage and the future of his career, and Isabelle must confront bitter truths about her husband. From adjoining hospital beds, they pledge their love to one another, but then Isabelle heads back to Paris to tend her ailing son, and Bill returns to the States for a stay at a rehabilitation center where he hopes to regain use of his legs. Will Isabelle eventually leave her husband and reclaim her freedom? Will Bill ever walk again? Will the two soul mates ever be reunited? Despite the wacky unlikeliness of the bus-crash plot device and the his-and-her IVs, Steel pulls through with skillful plotting, steeping a gentle brew that will once again gratify her legions of fans. (Oct.30) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ignored by her Parisian banker husband, the beautiful Isabelle indulges in a long-distance friendship via telephone with an American man. But of course all won't go well when they finally meet: at first kiss, their limo is totaled by a bus. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553712292
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/23/2001
  • Series: Danielle Steel Series
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 5.65 (w) x 4.93 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world's most popular authors, with over 460 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include: Leap of Faith, Lone Eagle, Journey, The House on Hope Street, The Wedding, Irresistible Forces, Granny Dan, Bittersweet, Mirror Image, The Klone and I, The Long Road Home, The Ghost, 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

Isabelle Forrester stood looking down at the garden from her bedroom window, in the house on the rue de Grenelle, in the seventh arrondissement in Paris. It was the house she and Gordon had lived in for the past twenty years, and both her children had been born there. It had been built in the eighteenth century, and had tall, imposing bronze doors on the street that led to the inner courtyard. The house itself was built in a U-shape around the courtyard. The house was familiar and old and beautiful, with tall ceilings and splendid boiseries, lovely moldings, and parquet floors the color of brandy. Everything around her shone and was impeccably tended. Isabelle ran the house with artistry and precision, and a firm but gentle hand. The garden was exquisitely manicured, and the white roses she'd had planted years before were often called the most beautiful in Paris. The house was filled with the antiques she and Gordon had collected over the years, locally and on their travels. And a number of them had been her parents'.

Everything in the house shone, the wood was perfectly oiled, the silver polished, the crystal sconces on the walls sparkled in the bright June sun that filtered through the curtains into her bedroom. Isabelle turned from the view of her rose garden with a small sigh. She was torn about leaving Paris that afternoon. She so seldom went anywhere anymore, the opportunities were so rare. And now that she had a chance to go, she felt guilty about it, because of Teddy.

Isabelle's daughter, Sophie, had left for Portugal with friends the day before. She was eighteen years old and going to university in the fall. It was Isabelle's son, Theodore, who kept her at home, and had for fourteen years now. Born three months premature, he had been badly damaged at birth, and as a result, his lungs had not developed properly, which in turn had weakened his heart. He was tutored at home, and had never been to school. At fourteen, he had been bedridden for most of his life, and moved around the house in a wheelchair whenever he was too weak to do so under his own steam. When the weather was warm, Isabelle wheeled him into the garden, and depending on how he felt, he would walk a little bit, or just sit. His spirit was indomitable, and his eyes shone the moment his mother came into the room. He always had something funny to say, or something to tell her. Theirs was a bond that defied words and time and years, and the private terrors they had faced together. At times she felt as though they were two people with one soul. She willed life and strength into him, talked to him for hours, read to him, held him in her arms when he was too weak and breathless to speak, and made him laugh whenever she could. He saw life as she did. He always reminded her of a tiny fragile bird with broken wings.

She and Gordon had spoken to his doctors of a heart-lung transplant, performed in the States, but their conclusion was that he was too weak to survive the surgery or perhaps even the trip. So there was no question of risking either. Theodore's world consisted of his mother and sister and was limited by the elegant confines of the house on the rue de Grenelle. His father had always been uncomfortable in the face of his illness, and Teddy had had nurses all his life, but it was his mother who tended to him most of the time. She had long since abandoned her friends, her own pursuits, and any semblance of a life of her own. Her only forays into the world in recent years were in the evening, with Gordon, and only rarely. Her entire mission in life was keeping Teddy alive, and happy. It had taken time and attention away from his sister, Sophie, over the years, but she seemed to understand it, and Isabelle was always loving to her. It was just that Teddy had to be the priority. His life depended on it. In the past four months, ever since the early spring, Theodore had been better, which was allowing his mother this rare and much-anticipated trip to London. It had been Bill Robinson's suggestion, a seemingly impossible one at first glance.

Isabelle and Bill had met four years before at a reception given by the American ambassador to France, who was an old classmate of Gordon's from Princeton. Bill was in politics, and was known to be one of the most powerful men in Washington, and probably the wealthiest. Gordon had told her that William Robinson had been responsible for putting the last president in the Oval Office. He had inherited a vast, almost immeasurable fortune, and had been drawn to politics and the power it afforded him since his youth. It suited him, and he in fact preferred to remain behind the scenes. He was a power broker and a king maker, but what had impressed Isabelle was how quiet and unpretentious he was, when they met. When Gordon explained Bill's circumstances to her, it seemed hard to believe that he was either as wealthy or as powerful as he was. Bill was enormously unassuming and discreet, and she had instantly liked that about him. He was easygoing, and looked surprisingly young, and he had a quick sense of humor. She had sat next to him at dinner and enjoyed his company immensely. She was pleased and surprised when he wrote to her the following week, and then later sent her an out-of-print art book they had discussed, which she had told him she had been hunting for for ages. With far more pressing pursuits at hand, she had been amazed that he remembered, and touched that he had gone to the trouble of finding it and sending it to her. Art and rare books were his passion.

They had talked endlessly about a series of paintings that had been found at the time, lost since the Nazis absconded with them during the war, which had turned up in a cave somewhere in Holland. It had led them to speak of forgeries, and art thefts, and eventually restoration, which was what she had been doing when she met Gordon. She had been an apprentice at the Louvre, and by the time she retired when Sophie was born, she had been thought to be both skillful and gifted.

Bill had been fascinated by her stories, just as she was by his, and over the next months, an odd but comfortable friendship had formed between them, via telephone and letters. She had found some rare art books to send to him, and the next time he came to Paris, he called her and asked if he could take her to lunch. She hesitated and then couldn't resist, it was one of the rare times when she left Theodore at lunchtime. Their friendship had begun nearly four years before, and Teddy was ten then. And over time, their friendship had flourished. He called from time to time, at odd hours for him, when he was working late, and it was early morning for her. She had told him that she got up at five to tend to Teddy every morning. And it was another six months before he asked her if Gordon objected to his calling her. In fact, she had never told him. Bill's friendship had become her secret treasure, which she diligently kept to herself.

'Why should he?' she asked, sounding surprised. She didn't want to discourage his calls. She enjoyed talking to him so much, and there were so many interests they shared. In an odd way, he had become her only real contact with the outside world. Her own friends had stopped calling years before. She had become increasingly inaccessible as she spent her days and nights caring for Teddy. But she had had her own concerns about Gordon objecting to Bill's calls. She had mentioned the first art books he sent when they arrived, and Gordon looked startled but said nothing. He evidenced no particular interest in Bill's sending them to her, and she said nothing to him about the phone calls. They would have been harder to explain, and they were so innocent. The things they said to each other were never personal, never inappropriate, neither of them volunteered anything about their personal lives, and they rarely spoke of their spouses in the beginning. His was simply a friendly voice that arrived suddenly in the dark hours of the early morning. And as the phone didn't ring in their bedrooms at night, Gordon never heard them. In truth, she suspected Gordon would object, if he knew, which was why she had never told him. She didn't want to lose the gift of Bill's calls or friendship.

Bill called every few weeks at first, and then slowly the calls began to come more often. They had lunch again a year after they had met. And once, when Gordon was away, Bill took her to dinner. They dined at a quiet bistro near the house, and she was stunned to realize, when she got home, that it was after midnight. She felt like a wilted flower soaking up the sun and the rain. The things they talked about fed her soul, and his calls and rare visits sustained her. With the exception of her children, Isabelle had no one to talk to.

Gordon was the head of the largest American investment bank in Paris, and had been for years. At fifty-eight, he was seventeen years older than Isabelle. They had drifted apart over the years, she was aware of it, and thought it was because of Teddy. Gordon could not tolerate the aura of constant illness that hung over the child like a sword waiting to fall. He had never allowed himself to be close to him, and they all knew it. His aversion to Teddy's illness was so extreme, it was almost phobic. Teddy himself was acutely aware of it, and had thought his father hated him when he was younger. But as he grew older, he saw it differently. By the time he was ten, he understood that his father was frightened by his illness, panicked almost, and the only way he could escape it was to ignore him entirely, and pretend the child didn't exist. Teddy never held it against him, and he would speak of it openly with Isabelle, with a wistful look, as though talking about a country he wished he could visit, and knew he never could. The child and his father were strangers to each other, almost as though they had never met. Gordon blocked him out, and put all his energies into his work, as he had for years, and removed himself as much as possible from life at home, particularly his wife. The only member of his family he seemed even slightly drawn to was Sophie. Her character was far more similar to his than to her mother's. Sophie and Gordon shared many of the same points of view, and a certain coolness of outlook and style. In Gordon's case, it was born of years of erecting walls between himself and the more emotional side of life, which he perceived as weakness in all instances, and had no appeal to him. In Sophie's case, she simply seemed to have inherited the trait her father had created in himself. Even as a baby, she had been far less affectionate than her brother had been, and rather than turning to anyone for help, particularly Isabelle, she preferred to do everything for herself. Gordon's coolness had translated to independence in her, and a kind of standoffish pride. Isabelle wondered sometimes if it had been her instinctive reaction to her brother needing so much of her mother's time. In order not to feel shortchanged by what was not available to her, she had convinced herself and her own little world that she needed nothing from them. She shared almost no confidences with Isabelle, and never spoke of her feelings if she could avoid it, which most of the time she could and did. And if she confided in anyone, Isabelle knew, it was not her mother but her friends. Isabelle had always cherished the hope that once Sophie grew up, they would find some common ground and become friends. But thus far, the relationship with her only daughter had not been an easy one for her.

Gordon's coldness toward his wife, on the other hand, was far more extreme. Sophie's seeming distance from her mother could be interpreted as an attempt to stand on her own two feet, in contrast to her brother's constant neediness, and to be different from him. In her case, it seemed almost an attempt to prove that she did not need the time and energy her mother did not have to give, due to Teddy's being constantly ill. In Gordon's case, it seemed to be rooted in something far deeper, which at times seemed, or felt to Isabelle at least, like a deep resentment of her, and the cruel turn of fate that had cast a handicapped son on them, for which he appeared to blame her.

Gordon had a dispassionate view of life, and generally observed life from a safe distance, as though he were willing to watch the game but not play it, unlike Teddy and Isabelle, who were passionate about everything they felt, and expressed it. The flame that she and the child shared was what had kept Teddy alive through a lifetime of illness. And her devotion to her son had long since distanced Gordon from her. Emotionally, Gordon had been removed from her for years, since shortly after Teddy's birth. Years before she met Bill, Gordon had moved out of their bedroom. At the time, he had explained it by saying that she went to bed too late and rose too early, and it disturbed him. But she had sensed accurately that there was more to it than that. Not wanting to make things worse between them or confront him, she had never dared to challenge him about it. But she had known for a long time that Gordon's affections for her had at first diminished, and then finally disappeared.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Terrible

    Repetitious, boring, this could have been written by a high school girl. Dont waste yout time

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Absolutely loved this book. I did not want it to end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2007

    amazing

    i love this book it was awesome i couldnt put it down literally

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2006

    Great book!

    I loved this book! I found myself crying for the last 3 chapters! It really tugs at your heart-strings and makes you fall in love with Isabelle and Bill. It's truely a great book. I'd recomend it to anyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    danille steel dosent know how not to write a bestseller

    Frenchwomen Isable forester, wife of a promenent pershen banker has spent years taking care of her dispretly ill son Teddy and Her teentage daughter Sophie. Isabille's husband Gorden has isolated Isable ever since teddy's birth. Her frindship with powerbroker, bill robinson is the only thind that Isabile has held onto. What is suppesed to be a relaxing weekend in Londen with Bill ends in tradgedy in one single car accident In the month's that follow Nothing is the same for Isable and bill. For Isable first come the harsh words of Gorden, Then the discovary of gorde'ns affair whitch has been going on for years behind her back, then the sudden death of Teddy then a nasty devorse with Gorden. Bill too is facing problems of his own. He is told he would never walk again and would be forced to spend the rest of his life in a weelchair. Bill can not see a fututhre for Isable. He loves her enough not to burden her. He thinks it would be a terable burden for her to spend the rest her life caring for a man in a weelchair. It's not until bill goes to therepy that he learns a lesson: as long as two pepole who love eachother as he and Isable do the fact he will be in a weelchaor does not really matter. This lesson helps bill and Isable make there decishon

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2004

    i love the book

    the book/novel is breath taking and very educational on life matters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2004

    my thoughts on the book

    I wasn't really familiar with Danielle Steel when I read this book. It was suggested by one of my good friends. I think this book is amazing. It was the best book I have read in a long time. Very well written, kept you wanting more. Now that I have read the book, I love Danielle Steel's writings. I would highly suggest her books to anyone. She is an amazing author. Now i'm hooked on reading her books and finding out what other amazing things she'll write about.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2003

    Too much detail

    I agree with other readers, this book had considerably too much repetitive detail. I have also read many of her earlier books and have enjoyed them more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    The Same Old Story

    This book was very predictable. The storyline wasn't great and all of D.S. books are starting to be boring because they are so predictable. I read all of her earlier books and thought they were great but her new ones are dull.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2002

    Not Typical Danielle

    I am an avid reader and I read Danielle Steel as an escape from everyday life. Her books are great summer reading for the beach. However, this one has got to be one of the worst of hers. I was literally skipping pages because, as many other people here believe too, she is SO repetitive. Has anyone noticed that once she uses a word at the beginning of a paragraph she uses it in every other sentence in that paragraph? Many of her other titles would be much more enjoyable than this one. I also agree with the person who wrote that this heroine was the most spineless wimp ever! Just slap Gordon in the head.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Another True Love Story

    The Kiss is a true love story. Danielle Steel brings Isabelle's character to life through her writing. A love story with all the elements, greed, deceit, loneliness, tragedy and happiness are in this book. Danielle Steel portrays Isabelle as a strong women who puts family first before herself as well as a women who can overcome tragedy. This isn't one of Danielle Steel's "typical" love stories. It shows the lengths a women would go through for her family and the lengths someone would go when greed controls them. I enjoyed this book because this book did have so many different plots that showed the emotions that Isabelle experiences through the many different plots in the book. It is interesting how Danielle Steel was able to bring to life to the reader the emotions Isabelle was experiencing during this love story. The reader can relate to some of the plots as it does happen in everyday life. This book will make you laugh, cry and in the end rejoice. Danielle Steel, in my opinion, out did herself this time. I would recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2002

    This was awesome reading

    You could feel everything Isabelle felt. I have kids of my own and I could put myself in her place. The lose of a child just puts a big hole in your heart. Thank you for this book Danielle!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    Possibly the worst thing I have ever read

    Why in God's name is Danielle Steele making the money she is? This book was awful. I could not even bring myself to read the whole thing. It was repetitive and just plain boring. Not to mention the fact that the writing was equal to that of a mediocre high school student's. Save your money. Buy a good Michael Crichton novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2002

    of all her books this lacks something....

    I have read everyone of Steel's books! I love her and of all the books, this and The Cottage were my least Favorite! I was expecting The Gift in this book.... Steel can't write them fast enough for me....so I'm waiting for the next with eagerness!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2002

    very predictable

    I am a Danielle Steel fan so everything she writes is good. This was one of those books that were very predictable and not very suspenseful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2002

    Repeat, repeat, repeat

    This book could have consisted of two chapters if she had not repeated the same thought in 15 different ways!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    Repetitive at times...but very good

    The book was repetitive at times...but still very good. Danielle Steel fans will not be disappointed. Very touching ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2002

    i own every book of danielle steel

    i read every single book she ever wrote and i love every on of them!! Keep it up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2002

    Awesome Reading

    I love inspirational love stories and this is one of DS's best. The heroine was a woman we can all relate to in that each of us has some struggle we are dealing with that keeps us from accomplishing our goals. I enjoyed walking through the fire with Isabelle, as well as the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2002

    Wouldn't waste my time.

    I cannot believe that someone can write a book that is so repetative. She repeats the same feelings over, and over and over again. It's really aggravating! The story itself is not bad. Also, she usually at least makes her heroine stand up for herself but this one is such a wimp you want to slap her.

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