With 47 novels under her belt, you might think bestselling author Danielle Steel would be ready to take a rest. But much to the delight of her millions of fans, the prolific writer shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down. Steel's capacity for getting straight to the core of what matters most in life is the reason her books strike a chord with so many. And her latest, The Wedding, is no exception, tapping into basic human emotions with aplomb.
On the surface, the Steinberg family, one of Hollywood's royal families, appears to have it all. Its patriarch, Simon, is an Academy Award-winning producer, and his wife, Blaire, has been writing and directing a highly successful television show that has been winning awards for nearly a decade. Their youngest daughter, Samantha, is a fashion model and their oldest, Allegra, is an entertainment lawyer. Only their son, Scott, has chosen a non-Hollywood career path, though in his role as an orthopedic surgeon, he has occasion to tend to some of Tinseltown's most famous.
But while the Steinberg family may seem to glitter on the outside, there are problems lurking beneath the surface. For Allegra, it's her two-year relationship with an emotionally stingy lawyer who has yet to divorce his wife. When the relationship comes to an abrupt and shattering end, happiness seems light-years away.
The demands of her highly volatile clientele, which includes some of Hollywood's biggest names, leave Allegra with little time to worry about her love life. Then she makes a fateful trip to New York, meets novelist Jeff Hamilton, and finds her world turned suddenly upside down. Before long, Allegra is planning a wedding that is mere months away, and happiness seems within her grasp at last. But first life has a few more surprises in store.
Seventeen-year-old Samantha gets into some trouble that forces Allegra to take a hard look at her plans for the future. There is an obvious strain between Simon and Blair, the cause of which Allegra suspects but doesn't want to believe. When Allegra meets her future mother-in-law, she discovers the woman is a bigoted, pretentious old harridan with an intense hatred or Jews. As if all that isn't enough to make life complicated, Allegra's future with Jeff is threatened by the demands of her career and her spoiled, needy clientele, forcing her to take stock and reconsider her priorities. Throughout it all, Allegra's upcoming nuptials serve as a sort of anchor and symbol for all -- a symbol of hope, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Steel does an excellent job of balancing the amusingly self-centered antics of the glitterati with sympathy for the havoc their fame often wreaks on their lives. While the characters in The Wedding all lead lives of glamour and glitz, their problems are ordinary and familiar. And Steel, in her classic fashion, takes delightful advantage of life's common peccadilloes by tapping into the emotional vaults inherent in us all.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Steel's 48th novel (after Irresistible Forces), about weddings Hollywood-style, gets off to a slow start, but just when the singsong prose and bland introductory details begin to get frustrating the plot picks up steam. Beautiful, brainy lawyer Allegra Steinberg's life is one drama after another--once she gets rid of her boyfriend, philandering dullard Brandon Edwards. Her clients are superstar musicians and actors who phone her at 2 a.m. because they've fallen in love or gotten arrested or think they're being stalked. Her family are superstars, too: Mom is TV director Blaire Scott, Daddy is Golden Globe humanitarian-of-the-year producer Simon Steinberg, and then there's her 17-year-old sister, Sam, a leggy model whose pregnancy throws everyone for a loop. Steel's characters are already over-the-top, but leave it to this clever megaselling author to throw not one but three weddings into the mix. Movie stars Carmen Conners and Alan Carr elope, wig-and-polyester-style, in Las Vegas, and Sam secretly marries Jimmy Mazzoleri, who isn't the father of her baby. The centerpiece of the tale, however, is the big one, complete with an odious wedding planner, for Allegra and Jeff Hamilton, a gorgeous, soulful New York writer. Although Steel's prose is predictable, no one can gainsay her charitable heart. On the far side of tears and melodrama, everyone in the cast is redeemed and paired off--even Jeff's anti-Semitic mother and Allegra's sociopathic biological father, who richly deserve one another. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Steel's wildly successful formula is evident in this latest offering. Take beautiful and rich overachievers, add several complicated relationships, coupled with subplots too numerous to develop fully, and end with a mostly happy ending. Allegra Steinberg takes center stage here as she tackles unfulfilling personal relationships and the unenviable challenges of her career as an entertainment lawyer representing powerful yet quirky stars. Just when Allegra seems overwhelmed in her professional life, she falls in love and thus becomes the bride inherent in the title. The emotions, details, and interpersonal relationships affected by the upcoming nuptials all come into play in this flimsy yet strangely satisfying hammock companion. J.R. Horne admirably breathes life into Steel's stereotypical characters, who will undoubtedly captivate the author's vast following. Destined to be popular.--Susan McCaffrey, Haslett H.S., MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
The traffic moved along the Santa Monica Freeway at a snail's pace, as Allegra Steinberg lay her head back against the seat of the midnight blue Mercedes 300. At this rate, it was going to take forever. She had nothing particular to do on the way home, but it always seemed such an incredible waste of time just sitting there in traffic.
She stretched her long legs, sighed, and flicked on the radio, and she smiled as they started playing Bram Morrison's latest single. He was one of her clients at the law firm. She had represented him for over a year. She had a number of important clients. At twenty-nine, four years out of Yale law school, she was a junior partner at Fisch, Herzog, and Freeman. They were one of the most important firms in L.A., and entertainment law had always been her passion.
Allegra had known years before that she wanted to go into law, and it had only been for a brief, littlewhile, after two years of summer stock in New Haven during her sophomore and junior years at Yale, that she had thought she might want to be an actress. It wouldn't have surprised anyone in her family, but it wouldn't necessarily have pleased them. Her mother, Blaire Scott, had written and produced one of the most successful shows on television for nine years. It was a comedy, well peppered with serious moments, and some occasional real-life drama. They had had the highest possible ratings for seven of their nine years, and it had earned her mother seven Emmies. Her father, Simon Steinberg, was a major movie producer, and had made some of Hollywood's most important movies. He had won three Academy Awards over the years, and his reputation for box office successes was legend. More importantly, he was that rarest of commodities in Hollywood, a nice man, a gentleman, a truly decent human being. He and Blaire were among the industry's most unusual, and most respected couples. They worked hard, and had a real family, which they devoted a lot of their time to. Allegra had a seventeen-year-old sister, Samantha, "Sam," who was a senior in high school and a model, and who, unlike Allegra, did want to be an actress.
Only their brother, Scott, a junior at Stanford, seemed to have escaped show business entirely. He was in pre-med, and all he wanted in lifewas to be a doctor. Hollywood and its alleged magic held no lure for Scott Steinberg.
Scott had seen enough of show business in his twenty years. And he even thought Allegra was crazy to be an entertainment lawyer. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life worrying about the "box office," or the gross, or the ratings. He wanted to specialize in sports medicine, and be an orthopedic surgeon. Nice and sensible and down-to-earth. When the bone breaks, you fix it. He had seen enough of the agonies the rest of his family went through, dealing with spoiled, erratic stars, unreliable actors, dishonest network people who disappeared in six months, and quixotic investors. There were highs certainly, and perks admittedly, and they all seemed to love what they did. His mother derived tremendous satisfaction from her show, and his father had produced some great movies. And Allegra liked being an attorney for the stars and Sam wanted to be an actress. But as far as Scott was concerned, they could have it.
Allegra smiled to herself, thinking of him, and listening to the last of Bram's song. Even Scott had been impressed when she was able to tell him that Bram was one of her clients. He was a hero. She never said who her clients were, but Bram had mentioned her on a special with Barbara Walters. Carmen Connors was one of her clients too, the Marilyn Monroe look-alike who was the decade's new blond bombshell. She was twenty-three years old, from a town in Oregon the size of a dinner plate, and she was an ardent Christian. She had started out as a singer, and recently she'd done two movies back to back, and it turned out she was a sensational actress. She'd been referred to the firm by CAA, and one of the senior partners had introduced her to Allegra. They had hit it off instantly, and now she was Allegra's baby, literally sometimes, but Allegra didn't mind it.
Unlike Bram, who was in his late thirties and had been around the music business for twenty years, Carmen was still fairly new to Hollywood, and seemed to be constantly beset by problems. Trouble with boyfriends, men who were in love with her and she insisted she barely knew, stalkers, publicists, hairdressers, tabloids, paparazzi, would-be agents. She was never sure how to handle any of them, and Allegra was used to getting calls from her anytime, day or night, usually starting at two in the morning. The young beauty was often terrified at night, and she was always afraid that someone would break in and hurt her. Allegra had been able to control some of the terror for her with a security company that patrolled her house from dusk to dawn, a state-of-the-art alarm, and a pair of incredibly unnerving guard dogs. They were rottweilers and Carmen was afraid of them, but so were her would-be attackers and stalkers. But in spite of all that, she still called Allegra in the middle of the night, just to talk out problems she was having on the set, or sometimes just for comfort. It didn't bother Allegra; she was used to it. But her friends commented that she was as much baby-sitter as lawyer. Allegra knew it was part of the job with celebrity clients. She had seen what her parents went through with their stars, and nothing surprised her. Despite everything, she loved practicing law, and she particularly enjoyed the field of entertainment.
As she sat and waited for the traffic to move again, she pressed another button on her radio, and then thought about Brandon, as the traffic finally began to edge forward. Sometimes it took her an hour to crawl ten miles on the way home from a meeting or seeing a client at their home, but she was used to that too. She loved living in L.A., and most of the time she didn't mind the traffic. She had the top down on her car, it was a warm January afternoon and her long blond hair shimmered in the last of the winter sunlight. It was a perfect southern California day, the kind of weather she had longed for during her seven long New Haven winters while she was at Yale, first forundergraduate, and then for law school. After Beverly Hills High, most of her friends had gone to UCLA, but her father had wanted her to go to Harvard. Allegra had preferred Yale, but she had never been tempted to stay in the East after she graduated. Her whole life was based in California.