With a wife he loves and an exciting London-based career, architect Charles Waterston's life seems in perfect balance. Nothing in his comfortable existence prepares him for the sudden end to his ten-year marriage - or his unwanted transfer to his firm's New York office. With nothing left to lose, Charlie takes a leave of absence from his job to drive through New England, hoping to make peace with himself.
Christmas is approaching when Charlie leaves New York, heading to Vermont to ski. But a sudden, blinding snowstorm strands him in a small Massachusetts town. There, as if by chance, Charlie meets an elderly widow who offers to rent him her most precious possession: a remote, exquisite lakeside chateau. Hidden deep in the woods, it once belonged to a woman who lived and died there two centuries before. Her name was Sarah Ferguson. And from the moment Charlie sets foot inside the chateau's graceful depths, he feels her presence, and longs to know more about the life she led.
It is Christmas Eve when Charlie first glimpses her, a beautiful young woman with jet black hair. He thinks it is a neighbour playing a joke on him, until he finds her diaries hidden away in an old trunk. As he begins to turn the brittle, dusty pages, Sarah Ferguson comes alive. Intrigued and unafraid, Charlie immerses himself in the diaries, eager to learn more about the woman for whom the house was built. Sarah's first entry is dated 1789, the year she arrived in America. Without self-pity or sentiment, she writes of her harrowing journey from her native England, having fled the brutality of her aristocratic husband. Settling in Massachusetts, Sarah finds an unfamiliar land seething with the turbulence of the Indian wars.
Determined to start a new life in the vast new world, Sarah finds freedom - and danger - as she builds her home in the wilderness and meets a man who will transform her life. His name is Franois de Pellerin, a French nobleman adopted by Indians and drawn into the battle for the growing nation. Their fateful union is a testament to a love so powerful it reaches across the centuries. And for Charlie Waterston, caught between Sarah's world and his own, their story is a gift - one that gives him the courage to let go of his past, and the freedom to grasp a future that is right before his eyes.
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.
It's pure Steel (which is to say, it will soon be pure gold): On Christmas Eve, a lawyer whose life is a shambles encounters the ghost of a beautiful young woman in the lakeside mansion he has rented.
-- Library Journal
Steel weaves touches of the paranormal into a historical romance. Charlie Waterston's marriage is kaput. His perfect wife of 10 years suddenly tells him that their life has been empty and that she wants a divorce. In shock, Charlie—an American architect working in London—returns to the States and takes a six-month sabbatical to recover. Out on the road on a snowy night just before Christmas, he takes shelter at a bed and breakfast in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. He and the owner (one of Steel's benevolent older women) really hit it off. She then offers to rent him a house bequeathed to her by her grandmother: a perfect small chateau on a nearby lake built in 1790 for Sarah Ferguson, the Countess of Balfour, by her lover François de Pellerin, a virile French count who spent much of his time on the frontier with Indians. Sarah, who had been badly abused by her husband, and had given birth to several dead babies, ran away to America to make a new life. Charlie begins to read her journals, and one night, entering his bedroom, he believes that he sees her ghost. Steel parallels chapters about Sarah's ordeal with the Earl of Balfour and her love affair with Pellerin, with chapters about Charlie's romance with Francesca Vironnet, a modern-day historian emotionally damaged by a bad marriage. Charlie finds Sarah's journals to have a hypnotic rhythm and a story so captivating that "he wanted to sit in one spot until he finished all of them"—a description of a style that sounds a lot like Steel's, or at least what she intends. No amount of spellbinding rhythm can make up for an overlong romance. Despite the usual Steelian menu of love, pain, and compassion, most fanswill figure out the ending long before they get to it—and could probably supply the cadences as well.
-- Kirkus Reviews
Number Of Pages: 432
Published: November 1998
Publisher: DELL PUB
Dimensions (cm): 17.374 x 10.592 x 2.921
Weight (kg): 0.218