On Sarah Whitfield's seventy-fifth birthday, memories take her back to New York in the 1930s. To a marriage that ends after a year, leaving Sarah shattered. A trip to Europe with her parents does little to raise her spirits, until she meets William, Duke of Whitfield. In time, despite her qualms, William insists on giving up his distant right to the British throne to make Sarah his duchess and his wife.
On their honeymoon, the newlyweds buy an old French chateau, but not long after, the war begins. William joins the allied forces, leaving Sarah, their first child, an infant, and their second child on the way, in France. After the Nazi forces take over the chateau, Sarah continues to survive the terror and deprivation of the Occupation, unwavering in her belief that her missing-in-action husband is still alive.
After the war, as a gesture of goodwill, the Whitfields start buying jewels offered for sale by impoverished war survivors. With Sarah's style and keen eye, the collection becomes the prestigious Whitfield's jewelry store in Paris. Eventually, their jewelry business expands to London and Rome, as their family grows. Phillip, their firstborn, is stubborn and proud; Julian, their second son, is charming and generous and warm; Isabelle is rebellious and willful; and Xavier, unusual and untamed, is the final unexpected gift of their love. They each find their own way, but will be drawn to the great house of gems their parents built.
In Jewels, Danielle Steel takes the reader through five eventful decades that include war, passion, international intrigue, and the strength of family through it all.
About The Author
Danielle Steel is one of the world's most popular authors, with over 560 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Bungalow 2, Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, Toxic Bachelors, 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.
At the start, Steel seems to nick Barbara Cartland's preserves: lovely lass is wooed by English duke. But, here, the lass is a divorced American, and the duke has no wicked gleam in the eye. Once they're wed, it's Steel puff-pastry romance time. There's a stretch of true love and noble sacrifice during WW II in France, then troubles with bothersome offspring, the blossoming of a family jewelry business - and, of course, luxury digs and great duds. Sarah is in Europe - with her divorce from a playboy drunk already in the works - when she meets William, Duke of Whitfield, 14th in line to the throne. William falls in love, but how could Sarah say yes right after Edward VIII had to abdicate (in 1936) to marry a Divorced Woman, and thereby plug up William's conduit to the crown? Love wins, however, and Cousin Bertie (George VI) gives his blessing. No doubt royalty cares - it's the ex-king and his bride who get word to Sarah in her French chateau during WW II to tell her that William is missing in action. By this time Sarah has had two children, one (whom she will lose) delivered by the decent German officer in charge of requisitioning her house. The war ends. Will William return? Of course he will, and then Emanuelle, the village girl, suggests that the Whitfields help the refugees by buying their jewels. What a grand idea! Soon, though, jewels are piling up everywhere. Why not open a store! Wonderful! Eventually, the four surviving children will be involved: stuffy heir Phillip; kind Julian; headstrong Isabelle; jaunty Xavier. Except for the last, all marry disastrously, recoup, and produce kids. At the close, now-widowed Sarah beams on all at her 75th. Much of this airy nonsense is background - thin and threadbare (Steel does best on home shores). But fantasies with dukes, jewels, and French chateaux - plus the Steel name - can be counted on to shoot off the shelves. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 479
Published: 5th August 1993
Dimensions (cm): 17.9 x 10.9 x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.238