Diane Prather: Steel’s ‘One Day at a Time,’ an easy, enjoyable read
I haven’t read a Danielle Steel novel for some time, so last week I picked up “One Day at a Time” from the shelf of new books at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
The book also happens to be a Random House Large Print Edition (2009).
Steel’s novels are fast reads and have fairy tale-like endings. I snatched minutes between appointments and while waiting for dinner to cook, and easily finished the book in one day.
The leading character of the novel is Coco Barrington, daughter of Florence Barrington, best-selling romance novelist for the past 30 years. Coco’s father, who died four years ago, had been a literary and dramatic agent.
Coco has one sister. Jane is a Hollywood producer, and a top one at that. She and Liz, a screenwriter, have been life partners for the past 10 years.
At 28, Coco seeks life out of the limelight. She lives in a small cottage on the plateau of Bolinas, which overlooks the ocean. Coco’s Northern California home is less than an hour from San Francisco.
Coco, who runs a dog-walking service, is a disappointment to her mother, who makes no bones about calling her daughter a “dropout,” “hippie” and “flake.” Jane calls her sister a “chronic underachiever.”
In other words, they aren’t impressed with Coco’s lifestyle.
It has been two years since Ian’s death. Ian, a diving and surfing instructor, had come to California from Australia. Coco considered him her soul mate, but her dreams went with him the day he died in a hang-gliding accident. Coco was left with some photos, Ian’s diving gear, and Sallie, his Australian shepherd.
As the novel opens, Jane calls Coco asking for a favor. She is leaving for New York where she and Liz are co-producing a film. The problem is that her house-sitter has canceled last minute. She begs Jane to come stay at the house and care for her big dog, Jack.
Coco reluctantly agrees and settles in at Jane’s house. She’s surprised when Jane sends a text. A friend of theirs, named Leslie, is going to stay at the house for a few days, too. Because of the friend’s name, Coco assumes she is female.
The friend is Leslie Baxtor, who is hiding out from a homicidal ex-girlfriend. Not only that, but he’s a leading actor.
Coco has watched his romantic films over and over.
Leslie shows up at an awkward time. The dogs have wrecked the kitchen, breaking a syrup bottle and getting syrup all over the floor. But, the incident doesn’t seem to bother Leslie.
From the beginning, Coco and Leslie are attracted to each other, but their relationship is complicated. His world is complete with the paparazzi, very different from Coco’s quiet lifestyle on the beach.
Can Coco live in Leslie’s world?
Then, Leslie’s daughter, Chloe, enters the picture; Coco’s mother meets Gabriel, a man who is 24 years younger than she is; and Jane and Liz make a big decision.
The book is an enjoyable read.
The edition I reviewed costs $27 in softcover. It is also available at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
Diane Prather can be reached at Box 415, Craig 81626 or at 824-8809.
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