The Barnes & Noble Review
International bestelling author Danielle Steel sets most of her latest saga of star-crossed love during the uneasy time of World War II and the boom years that immediately followed. In Lone Eagle, an extraordinary couple brought together by the whims of fate spend their lives trying to reconcile disparate needs with uncompromising love.
Kate Jamison is a lovely young debutante who is self-assured, confident, and bright. Joe Allbright is a young protégé of Charles Lindbergh, a flying ace whose skill and acumen have already become legendary. When these two meet, they discover a love that is both powerful and painful -- powerful because it cannot be resisted and painful in the high price it so often demands. The first crisis comes with the U.S. involvement in World War II when Joe joins highly secret flying missions overseas. In his absence, Kate suffers loneliness, a miscarriage, and finally, overwhelming grief when Joe's plane is shot down and he's presumed dead.
Two years later, when it's discovered that Joe is alive, Kate breaks off her pending marriage to someone else. They spend a few months basking in the delirium of their love before reality puts a strain on things. Kate wants marriage and children but Joe's fear of commitment and restless drive leave her frustrated and heartbroken. It will take several tragedies, years of heartache, and tons of compromise before they find a happy middle ground that affords them the contentment and togetherness they've always sought.
Lone Eagle possesses the type of raw emotional power and hard-driving passion that have earned Steel legions of devoted fans worldwide. It's a tale of love, life, and humanity -- a powerful exploration of the complex elements that go into a relationship and a lesson on loving something enough to let it go free. (Beth Amos)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nobody ever said love was easy, but in Steel's latest romance, it's a perpetual uphill battle. From the moment beautiful, enormously poised 17-year-old Bostonian Kate Jamison meets handsome, much older Joe Allbright just before Pearl Harbor at a debutante party, she's desperately in love. Joe is smitten, too, but he is deeply committed to his career as a pilot he's already an ace, associated with Lindbergh. The two try to pretend they can just be friends, but passion flares between them on the eve of war. When Joe returns from Europe, after years in a German prison camp, everyone expects they will marry, but Joe cannot commit and Kate moves on. She goes to New York, marries a college friend and has a son; meanwhile, Joe establishes an airplane-building empire. Still, they can't forget each other, and when they meet up again, even social mores can't keep them apart. Their roller-coaster relationship takes many more dips and turns before Kate finally realizes what she must do to make it work: "let him come and go, and appreciate him." Her surrender may gall some readers, but she and Joe are engaging characters, and Steel's expert plotting keeps the novel moving at a good pace. (Apr.) Forecast: This eagle will sit in its aerie atop the bestseller list. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
It's Christmas 1940, and love blooms between a debutante and a protoge of Charles Lindbergh that endures despite the separate paths they take. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Glamorous debutante rues the day she fell for a dashing aviatorbut she can't stop loving him. Kate Jamison is 17 when she first meets 29-year-old Joe Allbright in New York. World War II has engulfed Europe, and the US is on the verge of joining the Allies. Joe, an accomplished pilot, is about to leave for England to advise the RAF, but he's smitten by Kate's innocent beauty and attracted to her independence of spirit, which matches his own. They talk, agree to write, and part. Kate goes off to Radcliffe, Joe goes off to war. When he returns to Washington to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross from President Roosevelt, Joe and Kate consummate their passion in a hotel room before he puts her on a train and returns to Europe. Of course, she's pregnant and intends to keep the baby, even though she knows Joe isn't the marrying kind. He's shot down and missing in action for many months, during which Kate miscarries painfully. Joe's return after surviving torture at the hands of the Germans is not good news for Andy Scott, an upstanding young man in love with Kate. She resumes her affair with Joe, but when he still won't marry her, she weds Andy and bears his child. She takes up with Joe again after the baby is born and, honest to a fault, tells Andy, who won't give her a divorce. Kate gets pregnant again, and Andy lets her go after this one is born. Joe marries her at last, but he's busy with his aviation empire and hardly ever home. She miscarries twins after a car accident; Joe is sorry but, in Kate's view, not sorry enough. Will they divorce? Or reconcile? Will Kate ever come to terms with her life? Perennial bestseller Steel (Journey, 2000, etc.) concentrates on the romance this time around, lending it a kind of quiet intensity that will appeal to her gazillion fans.
Read an Excerpt
Kate Jamison saw Joe for the first time at a debutante ball in December of 1940, three days before Christmas. She and her parents had come to New York for the week from Boston, to do some Christmas shopping, visit friends, and attend the ball. Kate was actually a friend of the debutante's younger sister. At seventeen it was unusual for girls to be included, but Kate had dazzled everyone for so long, and was so mature for her age, that their hosts had found it an easy decision to include her.
Kate's friend had been jubilant, as had she. It was the most beautiful party she'd ever been to, and the room, when she walked in on her father's arm, had been filled with extraordinary people. Heads of state were there, important political figures, dowagers and matrons, and enough handsome young men to flesh out an army. Every important name in New York society was in attendance, and several from Philadelphia and Boston. There were seven hundred people chatting in the elegant reception rooms and an exquisite mirrored ballroom, and the gardens had been tented. There were hundreds of liveried waiters serving them, a band in both the ballroom and the tent outside. There were beautiful women and handsome men, extraordinary jewels and gowns, and the gentlemen were wearing white tie. The guest of honor was a pretty girl, she was small and blond and she was wearing a dress made for her by Schiaparelli. This was the moment she had looked forward to for her entire lifetime; she was being officially presented to society for the first time. She looked like a porcelain doll as she stood on the reception line with her parents, and a crier announced each guest's name as they entered in their evening gowns and tails.
As the Jamisons came through the line, Kate kissed her friend and thanked her for inviting her. It was the first ball of its kind she had been to, and for an instant the two young women looked like a Degas portrait of two ballerinas, as they stood in subtle contrast to each other. The debutante was small and fair, with gently rounded curves, while Kate's looks were more striking. She was tall and slim, with dark reddish auburn hair that hung smoothly to her shoulders. She had creamy skin, enormous dark blue eyes, and a perfect figure. And while the debutante was restrained and serene, greeting each guest, there was an electricity and energy that seemed to emanate from Kate. As she was introduced to the guests by her parents, she met their eyes squarely, and dazzled them with her smile. There was something about the way she looked, and even the shape of her mouth that suggested she was about to say something funny, something important, something that you would want to hear, and remember. Everything about Kate promised excitement, as though her own youth was so exuberant that she had to share it with you.
There was something mesmerizing about Kate, always had been, as though she came from a different place and was destined for greatness. There was nothing ordinary about Kate, she stood out in every crowd, not only for her looks, but for her wit and charm. At home, she had always been full of mischief and wild plans, and as an only child she had kept her parents amused and entertained. She had been born to them late in life, after twenty years of marriage, and when she was a baby, her father liked to say that she had been well worth waiting for, and her mother readily agreed. They adored her. In her earliest years, she had been the center of their world.
Kate's early years were easy and free. Born into wealth, as a small child she had known nothing but comfort and ease. Her father, John Barrett, had been the scion of an illustrious Boston family, and he had married Elizabeth Palmer, whose fortune was even larger than his own. Their families had been immensely pleased with the match. Kate's father had been well known in banking circles, for his good judgment and wise investments. And then the crash came in '29, and swept away Kate's father and thousands like him on a tidal wave of destruction, despair, and loss. Fortunately, Elizabeth's family had felt it unwise to let the pair commingle their fortunes. There had been no children between them for a long time, and Elizabeth's own family continued to handle most of her financial affairs. Miraculously, she was relatively untouched by the crash.
John Barrett lost his entire fortune, and only a very small part of hers. Elizabeth had done everything she could to reassure him, and to help him get on his feet again. But the disgrace he felt ate away at his very foundations. Three of his most important clients and best friends shot themselves within months of losing their fortunes, and it took another two years for John to give way to despair himself. Kate scarcely saw him during those two years. He had closeted himself in an upstairs bedroom, seldom saw anyone, and rarely went out. The bank his family had established, and which he had run for nearly twenty years, closed within two months of the crash. He became inaccessible, removed, reclusive, and the only thing that ever cheered him was the sight of Kate, who was only six then, wandering into his rooms, bringing him a piece of candy or a drawing she had made for him. As though sensing the maze he was lost in, she instinctively tried to lure him out again, to no avail. Eventually, even she found his door locked to her, and in time her mother forbade her to go upstairs. Elizabeth didn't want her to see her father, drunk, disheveled, unshaven, often sleeping the days away. It was a sight that would have terrified her, and broke her mother's heart.
John Barrett took his life almost two years after the crash, in September 1931. He was the only surviving member of his family at the time, and left behind him only his widow and one child. Elizabeth's fortune was still intact then, she was one of the few lucky ones in her world whose life had been relatively unaffected by the crash, until she lost John.
Kate still remembered the exact moment when her mother had told her. She had been sitting in the nursery drinking a cup of hot chocolate, holding her favorite doll, and when she saw her mother walk into the room, she knew something terrible had happened. All she could see were her mother's eyes, and all she could hear was the suddenly-too-loud ticking of the nursery clock. Her mother didn't cry when she told her, she told her quietly and simply that Kate's father had gone to Heaven to live with God. She said that he had been very sad in the past two years, and he would be happy now with God. As her mother said the words, Kate felt as though her entire world had collapsed on top of her. She could barely breathe, as the cocoa spilled from her hands, and she dropped her doll. She knew that from that moment on, her life would never be the same again.
From the Hardcover edition.