When a beautiful young Frenchwoman and a brilliant American actor meet in wartime Paris, their love begins like a fairy tale but ends in tragedy. Suddenly orphaned, their three children are cruelly separated. Megan, the baby, adopted by a family of comfortable means, becomes a doctor in the rural Appalachia. Alexandra, raised in lavish wealth, marries a powerful man whose pride is in his pedigree and who assumes that Alexandra is her parents' natural offspring. Neither of them has the remotest suspicion that she is adopted, or what turbulent tragedy lurks in her past. And Hilary, oldest of the Walker children, remembers them all, and the grief that tore them apart and cast them into separate lives. Feeling the loss throughout her life, and unable to find her sisters, she builds an extraordinary career and has no personal life.
When John Chapman, lawyer and prestigious private investigator, is asked to find these three women, he wonders why. Their parents' only friend, he did nothing to keep them together as children and has been haunted by remorse all his life. The investigator follows a trail that leads from chic New York to Boston slums, from elegant Parisian salons to the Appalachian hills, to the place where the three sisters face each other and one more final, devastating truth before they can move on.
The pages of Steel's newest novel are packed with an assortment of one-dimensional characters, each one more broadly sketched than the last. Sam Walker and Arthur Patterson, American soldiers in war-torn Paris, fall in love with Solange, a proud young Frenchwoman. Having won her, Sam brings his beautiful war bride to New York, where he instantly sets Broadway agog at his acting talent, mercurial temper and restless love affairs. Tragedy strikes when he kills Solange during an argument, and later himself, orphaning their three pampered daughters. Arthur cravenly arranges adoptions for the youngest two, but nine-year-old Hilary is dealt a life of utter misery. Determined to reunite her little family, she grimly survives only to find that the man responsible for her torment has lost all traces of her sisters. Years later, John Chapman is hired by a dying, penitent Arthur to find the sisters and bring them together. As he follows their trails, Chapman becomes obsessed by his quarryone the wife of a French baron, one a doctor in Appalachia and the third a cold, ambitious network executiveand his search for a happy ending that will wipe away the awful past. The book gets off to a slow, overly sweet start, but by the midway mark Steel has given these tired characters a fresh look and a vibrant momentum all their own. Major ad/promo.
One of her best!
Some of her older work is still some of her best writing in my opinion. A great story that heart wrenching and deeply intriguing. A must read.