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The time is the 1950s, when life was simpler, people still believed in dreams, and family was, very nearly, everything. The place is a small midwestern town with a high school and a downtown, a skating pond and a movie house. And on a tree-lined street in the heartland of America, an extraordinary set of events begins to unfold. And gradually what seems serendipitous is tinged with purpose. A happy home is shattered by a child's senseless death. A loving marriage starts to unravel. And a stranger arrives - a young woman who will touch many lives before she moves on. She and a young man will meet and fall in love. Their love, so innocent and full of hope, helps to restore a family's dreams. And all of their lives will be changed forever by the precious gift she leaves them.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552142458
ISBN-10: 055214245X
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 106mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Corgi Books
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 9-Nov-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A sugared concentrate of Steel's soothing-syrup craft (Accident, p. 16, etc.), in which a family tragedy, the plight of a unwed teen mother-to-be, and the drift of a grieving teenage boy conclude in a happy ending that, like a technicolor sunset, can be sighted from some distance. The Whittaker family - John ("a warm, caring man"), teacher Liz, 15-year-old Tom (sterling athlete and student), and 5-year-old Annie (quite adorable) - are in the midst of a cozy Illinois Christmas (hot chocolate, skating, the works) when suddenly little Annie is dead of meningitis. By the following summer (1952) the family has shattered. Switch to Iowa and pretty, gifted Maribeth, oppressed by a hidebound father who forces her to go to the high school prom in a navy blue dress with long sleeves. But rotten BMOC Paul, undeterred by navy blue, seduces the innocent Maribeth. Sure enough, Paul returns to his regular girl, and Maribeth is preggers. Dad roars her off to a convent for unwed mothers, but she leaves and de-buses at a friendly-looking town where she's hired as a waitress. Guess who's eating at the diner? It's Tom. Love simmers, eventually Maribeth tells Tom everything, and he tells his parents. Will Maribeth find a home for her baby? Will she realize her dream of college? Will the Whittakers bond again? Just you guess. And the "gift"? Maribeth says of Annie, "some people just come through our lives to bring us...a gift, a blessing." Later, as Tom and Maribeth stand before Annie's grave (not one possible tear is left unjerked), they know a peace "strong and clean and honest" and whether or not they will marry some day. They have "hope and promise and dreams." With a pretty dust jacket and handsome gold lettering, an eye-catching, toasty, heartwarming gift item that should fairly pop off the shelves. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Danielle Steel

Danielle Steel is one of the world's most popular and highly acclaimed authors, with over ninety international bestselling novels in print and more than 600 million copies of her novels sold. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina's life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; and Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved. To discover more about Danielle Steel and her books visit her website at You can also connect with Danielle on Facebook at or on Twitter: @daniellesteel

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