The Sins of the Mother

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Every woman makes choices. And no one has made more difficult choices than Olivia Grayson. The enormously successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. In Danielle Steel’s character-rich new novel, Olivia...

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The Sins of the Mother: A Novel

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Every woman makes choices. And no one has made more difficult choices than Olivia Grayson. The enormously successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. In Danielle Steel’s character-rich new novel, Olivia faces the past, tries to balance the present, and makes amends where due, while still running her vastly successful business.
 
THE SINS OF THE MOTHER
 
As a way of making up to them for time lost, Olivia spends months every year planning a lavish holiday that everyone in her family will enjoy. This summer she has arranged a dream trip in the Mediterranean on a luxurious yacht, which she hopes will be the most memorable vacation of all. Her lavish gesture every year expresses her love for them, and regret at all the important times she missed during her children’s younger years. Her younger daughter, Cassie, a hip London music producer, refuses the invitation altogether, as she does every year. Her older daughter, Liz, lives in her mother’s shadow, with a terror of failure as she tries to recapture her dream of being a writer. And her sons, John and Phillip, work for Olivia, for better or worse, with wives who wish they didn’t. In the splendor of the Riviera, this should be a summer to remember, with Olivia’s children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law on board. But as with any family gathering, there are always surprises, and no matter how glamorous the setting things don’t always turn out as ones hopes.
 
Family dynamics are complicated, old disappointments die hard, and as forgiveness and surprising revelations enter into it, new bonds are formed, and the future takes on a brighter hue. And one by one, with life’s irony, Olivia’s children find themselves committing the same “sins” for which they blamed their mother for so many years. It is a summer of compassion, important lessons, and truth.
 
The Sins of the Mother captures the many sides of family love: complex, challenging, funny, passionate, and hopefully enduring. Along the way, we are enthralled by an unforgettable heroine, a mother strong enough to take more than her fair share of the blame, wise enough to respect her children for who they really are, and forgiving enough to love them unconditionally.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Olivia Grayson built a home furnishing empire, but she did so at the cost of her children's childhoods. Now more than comfortably affluent and justifiably guilty, she has planned a fabulous summer family vacation aboard a spacious Mediterranean yacht. But from the start, things do not go well: The eldest of her two daughters refuses to come and her two sons arrive with the impediments of their wife. As always, Danielle Steel's multigenerational saga takes you where you want to go at just the right pace. A mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Kirkus Reviews
A high-toned neogothic yarn by veteran author Steel (Legacy, 2010, etc.), who owns the genre. You've got to pity one-percenter, almost-septuagenerian Olivia Grayson, who runs a fashion and lifestyle-accessory empire called The Factory--"an empire that had reached around the world, and an industry that no one could compete with, although many tried." She's quite staggeringly rich, and so are her children, whom she's co-opted into various positions involving finance and art, son Phillip the former, son John the latter, for Phillip had "his father's steady head for finance," while "John had inherited Olivia's innate artistic sense for design." (A philosophical question: Can something innate be inherited?) But what of the daughters? One is a clinger, afraid of her own shadow, the other resolutely independent and wanting nothing to do with Mom and all her mounds of cash. So what happens when Mom finally hits 70, the family is assembled, various spouses get in on the act and the secrets begin to spill out? Ah, there's the Steel magic, all regret, gnashing of teeth and tears shed into very expensive glasses of champagne; it ain't King Lear, but it's fraught with the dynamite of family dynamics anyway. Can the children pull themselves together enough to keep things going for their children? Can the Empress Olivia keep the empire going? Will The Factory keep on manufacturing things that no one needs but everyone wants? Come to think of it, this feels more like a factory product than a book as such--competent enough, and resembling a book in form, but with a certain emptiness at its heart. Still, if you care about the tribulations of the very rich, this is your book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385343206
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 433,481
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 600 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include The Sins of the Mother, Friends Forever, Betrayal, Hotel Vendôme, Happy Birthday, 44 Charles Street, 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, and the memoir of her work with the homeless, A Gift of Hope.

Biography

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

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

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

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

Good To Know

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

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

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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Olivia Grayson sat in the chairman’s seat at the board meeting, listening intently to the presentations, her intense blue eyes taking in each member of the board. Her eyes were quick and sharp. She was totally still, wearing a well-cut navy blue pantsuit, and a string of pearls around her neck. Her hair was a sleek bob, cut to the level of her jawbone just below her ears. It was the same snow-white color it had been since her early thirties. She was one of those striking women you would notice in any room. She was timeless, ageless, with high cheekbones and an angular face, and elegant hands as she held a pen poised above her notepad. She always took notes at the meetings, and had a flawless memory of what went on, in what order, and everything that was said. Her keen mind and sharp business sense had won her the reputation for being brilliant, but more than anything she was practical and had an innate, unfailing sense of what was right for her company. She had turned the profitable hardware store her mother had inherited years before into a model for international operations on a mammoth scale.

The Factory, as they had renamed it when it moved from its original storefront in a suburban locale outside Boston to an old empty factory building, was an astounding success, and Olivia Grayson along with it. She was the image of power as she presided over the board meeting. She was strong, innovative, and creative, and had started working at The Factory after school when she was twelve.

Her mother had been the daughter of a genteel family of Boston bankers who had lost everything during the Depression. Maribelle Whitman went to work as a secretary in a law firm, and married a young insurance salesman, who got drafted into the army after Pearl Harbor, and was sent to England in the summer of 1942, four weeks after their daughter, Olivia, was born. He was killed in a bombing raid when she was a year old. As a young widow, Maribelle moved to a modest suburb of Boston, and went to work for Ansel Morris at the hardware store, to support her daughter. For fourteen years, she helped him grow his business, had a discreet and loving affair with him, expected nothing from him, and brought up her daughter on the salary she made. And when she unexpectedly inherited his fortune, Maribelle wanted nothing more than to send Olivia to college, but Olivia had a thirst for business and no interest in college and academic pursuits. She had a passion and a love for commerce that drove her to take risks and make bold moves, and each decision she made catapulted the business forward to unexpected places and dizzying heights. Despite her youth, she made few mistakes, and had an instinct that proved her right every time. She had had the respect and admiration of her colleagues and competitors for years. Olivia was an icon in the business world.

And when Olivia went to work at The Factory full time, at eighteen, straight out of high school, three years after Ansel died, her visions had transformed the local hardware business into something her mother, and surely he, had never dreamed of. Her mother was running it then, Ansel was gone. And Olivia convinced her mother to add low-cost furniture with simple modern designs, not just the basic, ordinary items The Factory had sold until then. Olivia had added a fresh look and the excitement of youth. She brought a new de- sign aspect, at low prices, to their merchandise. They bought bathroom fixtures from foreign suppliers, modern kitchen cabinetry, and appliances. Within a short time they were as well known for their innovative international designs as the reliability of their products, at astoundingly reasonable rates. Olivia used volume to their advantage, and kept their prices lower than anyone else’s. Her mother had been worried about it at first, but time had proven Olivia right. Her instincts had been flawless.

Fifty-one years later, at sixty-nine, Olivia Grayson had created an empire that had reached around the world, and an industry that no one could compete with, although many tried. By the time she was twenty-five, Olivia had become a legend, and The Factory along with her, with its reputation for creative designs for anything for the home, from tools to kitchens and furniture, at rock-bottom cost. There was nothing for the home you couldn’t buy at The Factory, and she traveled constantly to find new suppliers, products, and designs. Her empire was still growing, and her reputation along with it.

Remarkably, there was nothing harsh in her face as she sat in the familiar chair at the board meeting, flanked by her sons on either side. Both had joined the business, fresh out of business school in Phillip’s case, and after getting a master of fine arts and graphic design in John’s.

Olivia’s mother had long since retired. The Factory was a product of Olivia’s genius, and the enormous fortune she had made from it was her legacy to her children. She had worked a lifetime for what she’d built. Olivia was the embodiment of the American dream.

Although she wielded enormous power and her eyes were sharp, there was something gentle about her face. She was a woman everyone took seriously, yet she was quick to laugh. A discreet woman, she knew when to speak. And she listened carefully to fresh ideas, which then spurred her on to new creations, and even now she was always seeking to stretch The Factory into additional places and to greater heights than it had ever been before. She didn’t rest on her laurels, and her passion and main interest was continuing to make her business grow. She still had the same excitement about it she’d had in her youth.

There were six members of the board, in addition to Olivia and her two sons, Phillip and John. She was the chairman and CEO, and Phillip was the CFO. He had his father’s steady head for finance and had come to the company from Harvard Business School after he earned his MBA with honors. He was a quiet person, more like his father than his mother. Each of her sons had inherited a facet of her abilities, but neither combined them as a whole. John, her third-born child, was head of creative and design. John was an artist and had studied fine arts at Yale. Painting was his first love, but devotion to his mother had driven him into the business at an early age. Olivia had always known that with his artistic sense and training in design, he had much to offer them. He was more gregarious than his older brother and resembled his mother in many ways, although the money side of the business was a mystery to him. He lived for aesthetics, and the beauty he saw in the world. And he still spent all his free time painting on weekends. He was an artist above all.

At forty-six, Phillip was as serious and solid as his father had been. Phillip’s father, Joe, had been an accountant and had helped Olivia run the business, quietly from behind the scenes. Phillip had inherited his financial accuracy and reliability, and none of his mother’s creative spirit and fire.

John had inherited Olivia’s innate artistic sense for design, and at forty-one, as an artist, he constantly brought new life visually into what they offered the world. He had enormous talent that he had funneled into The Factory, while dreaming of painting full time. Both men were essential to the business, but its life force was still their mother, even at sixty-nine. The Factory was still a family-held business, although they had had frequent opportunities to sell it and go public over the years. Olivia wouldn’t think of it, although Phillip had been sorely tempted by some of the offers they’d had in recent years. Olivia insisted that The Factory was theirs, with its many stores around the world, and she intended to keep it that way.

Their enterprise was booming and continuing to grow exponentially. And as long as she was alive, she intended to see to it that there were Graysons at its helm. Her two daughters had no interest in the business, but she knew that her two sons would run it one day, and she had prepared them well. Together, she felt certain, they would be able to maintain the empire she had built, and she was nowhere near ready to retire or step down. Olivia Grayson was still in full swing, running The Factory and traveling around the world, just as she had done for almost fifty-two years. She showed no sign of slowing down, her ideas were as astounding and innovative as ever, and she looked ten years younger than her age. She was a naturally beautiful woman, with a passion for life, and ten times the energy of people half her age.

With her usual quiet, orderly style, she brought the board meeting to a close shortly after noon. They had covered all the matters on their agenda, including Olivia’s concerns about some of the factories they were using in India and China. Phillip’s main concern was their bottom line, which was healthier than ever. The products they sold at incredibly low prices were making them a fortune and were being distributed by The Factory around the world.

Olivia always wanted to know that their factories’ practices were sound. And Phillip had assured them all again that morning that although they couldn’t know everything about their Asian factories, they were using a reliable industrial investigative firm, and all appeared to be in good order. And the prices they were paying were leaving them the profit margins they had benefited from for years. Theirs was a model that their competitors envied and never succeeded in matching. Olivia had a magic touch.

John had also introduced a series of new designs that morning that they all knew would be snapped up by their customers in the coming months. The Factory was ahead of every trend, with sure instincts about what would sell and what their customers wanted, even before they knew it themselves. John had an unfailing sense for shape, design, and color. The combination they offered of low prices and high design, for items their clients were begging for, was unbeatable. They created a need and then filled it. The Factory leaped ahead financially every year.

The empire Olivia had founded was rock solid. And she knew her late husband, Joe, would have been proud of her, just as he had been in his lifetime. He had been the perfect mate for her. And he hadn’t been surprised or critical when the business they grew together kept her from spending time with him or their children. They both knew it was inevitable that she’d be busy, especially when she was traveling, and even when she was at home. Joe had made up for it, with his more predictable schedule and less demanding financial duties in the firm. Trained as an accountant, he had been their chief financial officer until he died and Phillip stepped into his shoes. Olivia’s mother, Maribelle, had retired from the business to take care of Olivia’s children, shortly after Phillip was born, and that role suited her much better, and was less stressful for her. The business in Olivia and Joe’s hands had long since outgrown her by then. Olivia had been the driving force of The Factory, and shouldered the responsi­bility with ease, despite the time it ultimately cost her with her ­children. She had tried to make it up to them as she got older, particularly in the last fourteen years since her husband’s sudden death at sixty. He had died of a heart attack while she was away visiting new factories in the Philippines.

Joe’s death had been a terrible blow to Olivia and their children. Since then she had been more attentive to them, and made a point of taking her children and grandchildren on a vacation together every year. She loved them, and always had, and her husband, but she loved the business too. The Factory was her passion and her life. It was an all-consuming eternal flame that devoured her and sustained her. Joe had understood that and never minded, and her children also knew it, although some were more accepting of it than others.

Their senior house counsel, Peter Williams, had been at the board meeting that morning, to discuss some of the issues that Phillip had raised, about what the financial impact would be if they ever decided to shift from factories in Asia to different, more transparent ones in Europe. They all knew it could hit their bottom line unfavorably, and Phillip didn’t recommend it. Olivia had wanted their senior lawyer at the meeting. And Peter had voiced his usual carefully measured and wisely weighed opinions. She sought his advice on many subjects, and he always counseled her sagely. He was conservative by nature, but always practical in his suggestions, and he was creative in helping them find solutions to sometimes dicey legal issues. And inevitably there were some, in an enterprise as vast as theirs. He had enormous respect for Olivia, and had devoted the lion’s share of his time to The Factory for nearly twenty years. He never objected to the long hours he had to spend on it, the sacrifices he had to make, or its impact on his personal life. He had always been fascinated by the business, and the woman who ran it, and deeply impressed by her.

“What did you think of the meeting?” Olivia asked him as they waited at the elevator together. Phillip and John were still in the boardroom, and she had to get back to her office. Peter was heading back to his, a dozen blocks away. But as The Factory was his biggest client, he was at its main offices frequently. Olivia had moved the headquarters to New York from the outskirts of Boston forty years before. Her children had grown up in New York. Once they had opened branches in New Jersey, Chicago, and Connecticut, and on Long Island, New York was a more reasonable location for them than a sleepy suburb outside Boston. When they added the South, the Midwest, and the West Coast, and eventually expanded their international operation, being based in New York made even more sense. Their ­offices filled an entire building on Park Avenue, and they had warehouses all across the country, and in Asia, South America, and Europe. Their stores had been international for thirty years. Olivia had been faithful to their old locations and maintained them but had added countless new ones. Worldwide, they now had close to a hundred stores, and every one of them was profitable and booming. Olivia had made few mistakes over the years, and corrected them rapidly when she did.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 120 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 120 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    total crap

    Sure its a good book although after buying come to find out it is not available for the nook yet. Buyer beware unless u have an extra 15.00 to buy something you cant access. Very pissed off and disappointes customer BAARNES AND NOBLE OR WHOMEVER RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!!!!!!

    24 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 6, 2012

    I do enjoy Ms. Steel's books however I find she repeats some thi

    I do enjoy Ms. Steel's books however I find she repeats some things quite often. Otherwise I enjoy her stories.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Good

    I love the book & u can get it on your nook,,,,,,,,,

    11 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    Used to love danielle steele but...

    Her books are all the same now. I predicted every single event in this book. After reading almost all of ds's books, i can see the samd topics, descriptions, even characters in all her latest novels.....simply boring.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Great Read

    great read,love the characters, Danielle never dissapoints

    mlg

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Horrible

    Wish i could get my money back

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Again Overpriced

    Don't pay this much for an E-book.
    Purchase responsibly.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    A Highly Recommended - Must Read!!

    A very hard book to put down as I will finish it before the evening is over!!
    Another fantastic book written by Danielle Steel!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    One of her best

    We should all have a chance to spend time with the family...
    Very good book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Danielle Steel Has Done It Again

    I found this book to be an easy read and as a mother could associate with some of the sacrifices the mother had to make for her family. The characters all have different personalities, but in the end mesh into a very caring and loving family. If you like Danielle Steel you will find that she has written another very good book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2013

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ROMANTICS LIKE ME

    DANIELLE STEEL HIT ANOTHER HOME RUN. I LOVED THE STORY. I'VE READ 95% OF ALL THE BOOKS WRITTEN BY THIS AUTHOR AND I HAVE NOT BEEN DISAPPOINTED YET. CAN'T WAIT TO READ HER NEXT BOOK.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2013

    I HAVE READ ALMOST ALL OF HER BOOKS BUT FOUND THIS ONE TO BE VER

    I HAVE READ ALMOST ALL OF HER BOOKS BUT FOUND THIS ONE TO BE VERY BORING.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 24, 2013

    I couldn't get into the story. It was quite boring. After read

    I couldn't get into the story. It was quite boring. After reading 20% of the book I had to quit. If I am going to spend my precious time reading it has to be worth it.


    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Love Danielle Steel a must read

    never read a book from her I did not Like and this one is no exception.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Have read all of her books usually in one night. Sorry to say th

    Have read all of her books usually in one night. Sorry to say this was a disappointment. Just couldn't get into the characters and there was too much description of them. Pre-ordered it for my Nook so I do not know what the complaint was about the person not getting it on the Nook. This person does need to check their spelling and often.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Easy read

    An enjoyable and easy read with no complicated storylines. I finished it in 2 days.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2013

    Recomended

    I am a Danielle Steel fan. As with all her books, I thoroughly enjoyed The Sins of the Mother. I just wish she could put out books as fast as I read them.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    EXCELLENT READ. I fell in love with these characters. Especial

    EXCELLENT READ. I fell in love with these characters. Especially, Maribelle, loved how she stepped in to help olivia, who was a hard worker. In the end this was a family that stayed together and found happiness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2012

    Very slow

    Save your money. Very slow and hard to get into. I kept waiting for it to get exciting. It didn't.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent book!

    I have read every Danielle Steel novel published, and look forward to each new book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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