Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Review: 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel

On the jacket:

A magical transformation takes place in Danielle Steel’s luminous new novel: strangers become roommates, roommates become friends, and friends become a family in a turn-of-the-century house in Manhattan’s West Village.

The plumbing was prone to leaks, the furniture rescued from garage sales. And every square inch was being devotedly restored to its original splendor—even as a relationship fell to pieces. Now Francesca Thayer, newly separated from her lawyer boyfriend Todd, is desperate. The owner of a struggling art gallery, and suddenly the sole mortgage payer on her Greenwich Village townhouse, Francesca does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders. Soon her house becomes a whole new world.

First comes Eileen, a fresh, pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there’s Chris, a young father struggling with a troubled ex-wife and the challenge of parenting a seven-year-old son who visits every other weekend. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to start a new chapter in her life after the death of her husband. As Francesca’s art gallery begins to find its footing and Todd moves on to another woman, she discovers that her accidental tenants have become the most important people in her life. 

As the roommates bond, and the house fills with the aroma of Marya’s exquisite cuisine, there are shadows as well as light. Naïve Eileen explores the precarious boundaries of online dating with a series of strangers. Chris’s custody fight for his son escalates to devastating levels. Marya faces an unexpected choice that will take her into untested waters. And Francesca herself will contemplate what had seemed impossible: opening her heart once more.

Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, ultimately life-changing year, the house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and, always, hope. In the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it’s a place those who visit will never want to leave.


44 Charles Street revolves around Francesca, an art gallery owner who rents rooms in her house to pay off her mortgage;
Marya, a well known chef; Chris, a divorced guy with a son and Eileen, a special Ed teacher.

As I have told in my earlier book reviews, I used to love reading Steel as a teenager. But now, when I am back to reading her, as an older adult, the stories are not doing the same to me. Maybe it's the huge number of books she churns out, or, it could be that my expectations from a book have changed. Somehow, I have started finding repitition in her writing styles and plots. What annoyed me was that Steel kept saying the same things in different places of the story, in different word patterns, as if there was a need to reach a word limit target.

The messages the book gave, didn't agree to my mind set. A single woman doesn't *have* to have a man in her life. It is not okay to sleep with someone outside of marriage even if you are in the *process* of getting a divorce, or just because you are cheating with someone who is a *good choice*. Somewhere I don't agree with Steel's opinion on internet dating either. Yes, internet dating is risky. Very risky, in fact. But why be judgemental about it? Maybe she tried to caution younsters against it, but the tone and attitude sounded a little too narrow-minded.

My rating: 2.5/5

[This review is for Random House PublicationThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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