I have read Danielle Steel books for years, and I have even watched the occasional cheesy film version on Sky Premier and Hallmark on early mornings when I have been suffering from Insomnia. I still buy Danielle Steel novels when they come out (usually in softback), although I am finding them a little same-ish and I have been getting a little fed up by the writing style, normally when Ms Steel is describing the picture perfect lifestyles of the main characters. Anyway Journey is actually Danielle Steel's 50th novel. It is published by Corgi books, and was released in 2000. My copy was £6.99, although you can often get Danielle Steel books discounted at supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda. The Main Characters -------------------------- The two main characters in the book are Madeleine (Maddy) and Jack Hunter. Jack is the Head of a TV network and also an adviser to the president on media issues. Maddy is a TV anchorwoman. They are well known in Washington and seem to have a storybook marriage. However not is all as it seems to the outside world. The book opens with Maddy and Jack arriving at the Whitehouse for a function with the President and First Lady, and it is here that Ms Steel paints those storybook lifestyles, that her main characters normally hold. We also learn a little more about Maddy, in that she had not always had this kind of lifestyle but had been married before to an abusive husband, since she was 17. She ran away, with Jack's help eight years later, and her new lifestyle was so far removed from the old one, and that of her parents before her. However we also start to learn a little bit about her husband Jack's control too, with little snippets such as the fact he had wanted her to have her tubes tied, despite her own longing for a baby. She does this however because she thinks about everything that Jack has given her. Jack felt powerful by the fact he had created Maddy, in that he had gi
ven her work, training and education to get her to where she was today. Soon we learn of Maddy's co-anchor, Greg Morris, who is a young black reporter from NY. Jack does not appear to like Greg, although Greg and Maddy worked well together. Jack liked to control what Maddy got involved with and advised her that he had told the First Lady that Maddy would get involved with her Commission against Violence against Women, without consulting Maddy first. Jack always controlled who they saw and what they did in their spare time, and Maddy was frustrated when he had arranged for the McCutchins to visit their Virginian farm over the weekend. Maddy did not like Senator McCutchin at all and found him overbearing. However it was on this trip that Mrs McCutchin broke down and told Maddy about the violence she was suffering from at the hands of her husband, and the fact he did not want to be with her, but a divorce would ruin him. Maddy offers her help. Unfortunately Mrs McCutchin killed herself a couple of days later. What frustrated Maddy most was the fact that her husband Jack would not believe that the Senator was violent, and he believed stories that the Senator had told him implying his wife had mental problems. There was an obvious disagreement between Jack and Maddy on the subject of domestic violence, and Maddy decided to do a piece on air, raising questions, although this should not have been part of her remit. This action totally infuriated her husband, due to the position it left him in as owner of the network. He advised her that if she pulled a stunt like that again he would fire her, and he was extremely angry with her, not even taking her to work the next day. This anger remains for days later. Maddy does decide to join the First Lady's commission Against Violence against Women and at the first meeting, she meets Bill Alexander, who was later to become very involved with Maddy. Jack continues to co
ntrol Maddy and bit by bit she loses her own self worth and self esteem, bearing in mind her previous violent relationship. It is Bill who makes her gradually wake up and acknowledge that what is happening to her is no better than physical violence, and offers his assistance. Jack fires her co-anchor without consulting Maddy and replaces him with someone that Maddy just didn't get along with, there was no spark between them and the show began to lose ratings. In another twist, Maddy's long lost daughter, who was born when she was just fifteen showed up on the scene and Maddy wants to pick up the relation ship with her, again to Jacks disgust and lack of approval. Well I will not tell you the ending, although if you have read any of Danielle Steel's books in the past, then you know that they tend to have similar endings. All in all, this book was quite readable, and DS fans will enjoy it. I think if you are a newcomer to DS then you will likely enjoy it too, although after reading about 40 of these now, I tend to find them a bit sameish. Still they are always good for a bit of holiday reading, and you would normally finish them within a day or two of relaxing on the beach. Helen Bradshaw June 2002
Journey is Danielle Steel's 50th novel and uses elements familiar from earlier Steel best-sellers, but manages a totally fresh spin on the private problems of a very public marriage.